Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Peeblesshire"

See other formats






H  I  STO  RY 





F.  G.  S.,   F.  R.  S.  E. 




Printed  by  R.  &  R.  CLARK,  Edinburgh. 


IH  A  D  long  entertained  a  wish  to  write  a  history  of 
my  native  county,  but  the  obligations  of  a  busy  life, 
independently  of  other  reasons,  postponed  the  under- 
taking until,  after  an  absence  of  six -and -thirty  years, 
I  returned  to  dwell  amidst  scenes,  of  which  I  had 
treasured  up  some  recollections  and  traditions. 

I  was  not  without  an  excuse  for  having  formed  this 
desire.  The  only  available  book  on  the  subject  was  the 
Description  of  Tweeddale,  by  Dr  Alexander  Pennicuik 
of  Romanno,  issued  originally  in  1715,  and  re-issued 
with  notes  in  1815,  by  the  late  Mr  Brown  of  Newhall. 
Besides  being  out  of  date,  Pennicuik's  work,  though  in 
many  respects  curious  and  valuable,  is  little  else  than 
a  topographic  and  botanical  recital.  After  making  a 
survey  of  the  county  in  1775,  Captain  Armstrong  issued 
his  Companion  to  the  Map  of  Tweeddale,  but  this  tract, 
while  embracing  some  useful  facts,  is  also  chiefly  topo- 
graphic, and  has  been  long  out  of  sight.  The  next 
book  concerning  the  shire,  was  a  General  View  of  the 
Agriculture  of  tlie  County  of  Peebles,  by  the  Rev.  Charles 
Findlater,  minister  of  Newlands,  issued  in  1802.  Find- 


later,  a  man  of  enlarged  views  and  genial  temperament, 
has  presented  an  interesting  account  of  rural  progress 
until  his  own  day,  but  necessarily  abstains  from  matters 
of  an  historical  character. 

The  attempt  to  compose  a  history,  along  with  a 
general  description  of  the  county,  has  not  been  unat- 
tended with  difficulties.  Forming  a  secluded  moun- 
tainous territory,  Peeblesshire,  though  not  distant  from 
the  centre  of  public  affairs,  is  scarcely  noticed  in  general 
Scottish  history.  Materials  for  a  narrative  of  events 
require  to  be  sought  for  almost  entirely  in  original 
sources.  For  several  years,  accordingly,  I  have  enjoyed 
the  pleasant  occupation  of  digging  into  old  records,  and 
thence  drawing  to  the  light  of  day  such  facts  as  bore  on 
the  raids,  fightings,  feuds,  slaughters,  and  other  lively 
occurrences  of  the  period,  when  lairds  lived  in  castles  and 
cared  very  little  for  either  law  or  government — when 
bailies  and  burgesses,  emulating  their  betters,  settled  dis- 
putes by  an  appeal  to  "  Jeddart  staffs"  and  "  whingers" — 
and  when,  seemingly,  the  only  local  tribunal  that  inspired 
terror,  or  secured  prompt  obedience,  was  the  parish  kirk- 
session.  The  following  are  the  Records  which  have 
proved  serviceable  as  concerns  these  and  other  illustra- 
tions of  a  past  condition  of  society : — The  Records  of  the 
Privy  or  Secret  Council  of  Scotland ;  the  Books  of  Ad- 
journal  (Records  of  Justiciary)  ;  the  Records  of  the 
Justices  of  Peace  for  the  sheriffdom  ®f  Peebles ;  the 
Valuation  Rolls  of  the  same  sheriffdom ;  the  Records  of 
the  Convention  of  Royal  Burghs  ;  the  Records  of  the 


Royal  Burgh  of  Peebles ;  the  Records  of  the  Presbytery 
of  Peebles  ;  and  the  Records  of  the  Kirk-Sessions  of  the 
several  parishes  in  Peeblesshire.  As  will  be  seen,  I 
have  been  particularly  indebted  to  that  invaluable  and 
too  little  explored  repository  of  facts,  the  Records  of  the 
Privy  Council.  What  this  august  body  had  to  do  with 
Peeblesshire,  becomes  only  very  obvious,  when  we  call  to 
mind  that  it  indulgently  heard  complaints  from  every- 
body about  everything,  from  a  case  of  homicide  to  a 
debt  of  a  few  merks — from  an  act  of  rebellion  to  a 
quarrel  between  husband  and  wife ;  a  comprehensiveness 
of  jurisdiction,  during  the  old  Scottish  monarchy,  of  which 
some  notable  examples  have  already  been  presented  in 
my  brother's  Domestic  Annals. 

Believing  that  few  subjects  are  more  distasteful  to 
general  readers  than  topography,  I  have,  while  shunning 
minute  detail,  resorted  to  the  expedient  of  telling  the  story 
of  estates  in  connection  with  the  families  who  have  succes- 
sively possessed  them ;  or,  in  other  words,  endeavoured 
to  describe  the  county  through  the  palatable  medium  of 
anecdotic  family  history.  Should  this  be  deemed  a 
scarcely  satisfactory  method  of  procedure,  there  is  this 
to  be  said  in  its  favour,  that  it  enables  a  writer  to  shew 
how,  through  the  expenditure  of  capital  and  exercise  of 
taste,  the  naturally  bleak  lands  of  Scotland  have  been 
transformed  during  the  last  seventy  or  eighty  years  into 
a  condition  of  beauty,  fertility,  and  high  commercial 
value.  For  facts  in  this  department,  I  have,  of  course, 
had  to  rely  mainly  on  private  papers ;  and  for  the  liberal 


manner  in  which  my  neighbours  have  opened  their 
charter-chests  for  an  examination  of  these  documents,  I 
now  tender  my  best  acknowledgments. 

The  accounts  of  local  antiquities,  including  the  nume- 
rous and  interesting  British  hill-forts  in  Peeblesshire,  are 
from  personal  inspection  during  the  summer  of  1863. 
For  communications  on  rural  and  general  progress, 
also  on  the  geology  and  natural  history  of  the  county,  I 
have  been  indebted  to  individuals  who  have  kindly  taken 
an  interest  in  my  undertaking. 

I  may  confidently  say  that  neither  trouble  nor  expense 
has  been  spared  on  the  maps  and  wood  engravings  with 
which  the  volume  is  illustrated,  and  I  am  hopeful  that 
these  embellishments  will  help  to  brighten  up  a  narrative 
too  apt  to  be  dull.  All  the  sketches  have  been  taken  by 
artists  specially  for  the  work,  and  may  be  relied  on  for 
their  accuracy. 

The  abbreviations  employed  are,  P.  C.  R.,  for  Privy 
Council  Records;  P.  R.,  Presbytery  Records;  J.  P.  R., 
Justice  of  Peace  Records;  C.  R.,  Convention  of  Royal 
Burghs  Records ;  B.  R.,  Burgh  Records  of  Peebles ;  and 

K.  S.  R.,  Kirk-Session  Records. 

W.  C. 

GLENORMISTON,  i6th  May  1864. 


Subject  Illustrated. 


with  corrections  .....  o 


VIGNETTE — Sheep  of  Peeblesshire       ...         .  .  .  17 

STONE  HAMMER        ......  i  .  20 

STONE  AXE 2  .  20 

QUERN 3.  21 

STONE  MORTAR         ......  4.22 

BRACELET 5  .  22 

STANDING  STONES,  SHERIFF-MUIR       ...  6  .  23 

ROMAN  CAMP  AT  LYNE  in  its  original  form  .         .  7  .  25 

ROMAN  CAMP  AT  LYNE  in  its  mutilated  state         .  8  .  26 

MILKISTON  RINGS,  present  state          .         .         .  9  .  32 

MILKISTON  RINGS,  original  form         .         .         .  10  .  33 

SECTION  OF  HENDERLAND-HILL  RINGS        ...  1 1  .  34 


KlTTLEGAIRY  FORT,  SOONHOPE  .         .         .         .  13  .  39 


ROMANNO  TERRACES          .         .     -  *        .         .  15  .  42 

VIGNETTE — Seal  of  Archbishop  of  Glasgow  .  .  .  45 

VIGNETTE — Figures  of  two  Red  Friars         .         .  .  .  54 

VIGNETTE — Old  Armour .  61 

CARDRONA  TOWER,  in  ruins        .         .         .         .  16  71 

DOOR  OF  A  BASTEL-HOUSE,  Peebles     ...         .  17  .  72 


Subject  Illustrated.  FIG.  PAGE 

JAMES  I.  OF  SCOTLAND  .  .  .  .  .  18  .  74 

MASON-MARKS  ON  TWEED  BRIDGE  .  .  .  19  .  80 


DRUMMELZIER  CASTLE,  in  ruins .  .  .  .  21  .  95 

DROCHILL  CASTLE,  in  ruins  .  .  .  .  22  .  107 

OLD  TOWER  OF  BARNS 23  .117 

HORSBRUGH  CASTLE,  in  ruins  (1856).  .  .  24  .  128 

VIGNETTE — Border  raid .144 

NEIDPATH  CASTLE,  eastern  aspect  .  .  .  25  .  157 

MAP  OF  THE  COUNTY,  as  surveyed  in  1608  .  .  .  .181 

TRAQUAIR  HOUSE,  front  view  .  .  .  .  26  .  182 

VIGNETTE — Figure  of  Hon.  General  Douglas  .  .  .206 

now  an  Inn         .         .         .          .         .         .  27  .219 

VIGNETTE — Duke  of  Queensberry's  coach    .         .  .  .229 

VIGNETTE — View  of  Peebles  .  .  .  .  .  .256 

BURGH  SEAL 28  .  260 

CROSS  OF  PEEBLES,  1699 29  .  261 

JOHN  JAMESON,  a  mendicant  fiddler  .  .  .  30  .  273 

CHAMBERS  INSTITUTION,  front  view  .  .  .  31  .280 

Institution 32  .  282 

LIBRARY  AND  READING  ROOM,  Chambers  Institution  33  .  283 


THE  YETT,  entrance  to  Cross  Keys  Inn  .  .  35  .  286 

EMBLEMATIC  FOURTH  FIGURE  .  .  .  36  .289 

RUINS  OF  ST  ANDREW'S  CHURCH  .  .  37  .291 

ST  NICHOLAS  WITH  THE  HOLY  ROOD  .  .  38  .  294 

Rums  OF  THE  CROSS  CHURCH  .  39  295 

VIGNETTE — Doorway  to  the  Green  .  .  .  .  -315 

CREST  OF  THE  LORDS  YESTER,  Neidpath  Castle  .  40  .  318 


Subject  Illustrated. 



NEIDPATH  CASTLE,  southern  aspect     . 



OLD  Q.             


•       323 

CHAPEL  HILL           



VENLAW  HOUSE        ..... 

1  20 



-.      33i 

ARMS  OVER  DOORWAY,  Haystoun        , 


•       335 




DARN  HALL     ...... 


•3  e? 




•         356 

CRINGLETIE  HOUSE           .... 


-         363 

COWIE'S  LINN           .        .        . 


•         364 

VIGNETTE  —  Eddleston  Water      .                  « 


•         365 

OLD  BRIDGE,  Innerleithen  .         .         . 


.         368 

RUIN  OF  NETHER  HORSBRUGH   .        .        . 


-       374 



-       376 

LODGE  AND  ENTRANCE,  Glenormiston 


•       379 

GLENORMISTON  HOUSE                                > 


.       380 

VIGNETTE  —  St  Mary's  Cottage,  Yarrow 


.       381 



•       384 

OLD  GATEWAY,  Traquair  House 

•         58 

•       387 

THE  GLEN  HOUSE    .                  ... 


«       39° 

KAILZIE  HOUSE        .                 ... 


•       392 

CARDRONA  HOUSE    .         .         .         . 



VIGNETTE  —  Wading  Tweed  on  Stilts  . 

.  '• 

•       397 

;        62 


THE  BLACK  DWARF'S  COTTAGE  .     —  .        . 

.        63 








TOMBSTONE,  Piers  Cockbum's  Grave  .         • 






DAWICK  HOUSE                           % 




Subject  Illustrated.  FIG.  PAGE 

RUINS  OF  TINNIES  CASTLE         ...         .         .  69  .       421 


POLMOOD  IN  RUINS           .         .-        .         .        .  71  426 


STANDING-STONE,  Tweedsmuir    .         .         .         .  73  .430 

CHURCH  OF  STOBO 74  434 

JOUGS,  Doorway  of  Stobo  Church        .         .         .  75  .435 

LORD  CHIEF  BARON  MONTGOMERY      .         .         .  76  -       437 

STOBO  CASTLE 77  •       439 

RACHAN  HOUSE 78  446 

RUIN  OF  WRAE  CASTLE 79  .       448 

MOSSFENNAN  HOUSE 80  .       450 

CASTLE  CRAIG 81  .452 

NETHER  URD 82  457 

LADY  GIFFORD'S  WELL,  Linton            ...  83  .       460 

MEDWYN  HOUSE 84  .       467 

GARVALD  HOUSE       .         .         .         .         .         .  85  .       469 



CALLANDS  HOUSE     .        .         .         .         .        .  88  .474 

SCOTSTON                  .         .         .         .    •     .         .  89  .       476 

ROMANNO  HOUSE     .         .         .         .         .         .  90  .479 

OLD  CHURCH  OF  NEWLANDS,  in  ruins          .         .  91  .487 

HALMYRE  HOUSE      .',....  92  497 


MAUSOLEUM  AT  MACBIE  HILL    .         .        .         .  94  .503 

LA  MANCHA  HOUSE 95  .506 

WHIM  HOUSE 96  •       5°9 

VIGNETTE — Girl  wading  Eddleston  Water    .         .  .  -513 


VIGNETTE — Game,  Peeblesshire .         .         .         .  .  -53° 




PEEBLESSHIRE,  one  of  the  smaller  counties  of  Scotland, 
lying  near  the  Border,  so  called  from  its  royal  burgh,  is 
bounded  by  Dumfries  and  Selkirk  shires  on  the  south, 
Lanarkshire  or  Clydesdale  on  the  west,  Mid-Lothian  or  Edin- 
burghshire  on  the  north,  and  Selkirkshire  on  the  east.  Irregular 
in  outline,  particularly  in  the  east,  the  shire  extends  from  north 
to  south  twenty-nine  miles  ;  its  greatest  breadth  is  twenty-one 
miles,  and  its  least  breadth  nine  and  a  half  miles.  The  county 
contains  226,899.206  acres  of  land,  and  969.633  acres  of  water — 
total,  227,868.839  acres,  or  356  square  miles.  Its  lowest  point 
above  the  mean  level  of  the  sea  is  about  450  feet,  from  which  to 
about  1 200  feet  is  the  region  of  cultivation.  The  hills  generally 
rise  to  a  height  of  from  goo  to  1500  feet.  According  to  the 
Ordnance  Survey,  the  greatest  altitude  attained  within  the 
county  is  2754  feet,  which  is  the  height  of  Broad  Law,  in  the 
district  of  Megget.  Peebles,  occupying  an  alluvial  plateau  at 
the  height  of  550  feet  above  the  sea,  is  situated  in  55°  39'  5" 
north  latitude,  and  3°  n'  15"  longitude  west  of  Greenwich. 


Consisting  mainly  of  the  upper  part  of  the  valley  of  the 
Tweed,  the  county  is  variously  and  more  familiarly  known  as 
TWEEDDALE,  a  designation  which,  in  its  old  form  of  Tuedal,  is 
sometimes  assigned  to  it  in  state  documents  and  historical  writings 
in  past  times.  Environed  by  mountain-ranges,  and  anciently 
bounded  on  its  eastern  frontier  by  the  thickets  of  Ettrick  Forest, 
Tweeddale  long  possessed  a  character  of  seclusion  not  to  be 
expected  from  its  near  neighbourhood  to  the  busy  scenes  of  Mid- 
Lothian.  Although  neither  very  lofty  nor  striking  in  outline,  the 
hills  of  Peeblesshire  constitute  a  wild  and  pleasing  pastoral  region, 
intersected  with  alluvial  vales,  each  watered  by  its  tributary 
streamlet,  gathered  from  innumerable  rills  which  gurgle  in  sweet 
solitude  down  the  recesses  of  the  mountain-slopes.  Excepting 
the  Medwin  Water,  in  the  north-west,  which  runs  towards  the 
Clyde,  and  the  North  Esk,  which,  rising  in  the  north-east,  flows 
towards  the  Forth,  also  some  lesser  rivulets,  all  the  streams  of 
Peeblesshire  are  tributary  to  the  Tweed,  although  one  of  them, 
the  Megget,  makes  a  circuit  by  its  influx  into  St  Mary's  Loch, 
the  parent  of  the  Yarrow. 

Moderate  in  volume — seldom  more  than  from  two  to  four  feet 
deep,  or  beyond  sixty  to  eighty  feet  in  breadth — and  abounding 
in  rapids,  Tweed  is  unsusceptible  of  navigation,  and  sinks  in 
importance  in  comparison  with  the  Tay  and  some  other  rivers 
in  the  north  ;  but,  independently  of  the  celebrity  gained  by 
its  natural  qualities,  it  has  acquired  distinction  by  forming  the 
line  of  boundary  between  England  and  Scotland  in  the  lower 
part  of  its  course. 

The  source  of  the  Tweed  is  found  in  the  parish  of  Tweeds- 
muir,  in  the  western  part  of  the  county,  about  1300  feet  above 
the  level  of  the  sea,  where  it  rises  at  the  base  of  a  hilly  range, 
from  the  further  sides  of  which  spring  the  rivers  Annan  and 
Clyde.  Hence,  the  popular,  though  not  quite  correct  rhyme  : 

'  Annan,  Tweed,  and  Clyde 
Rise  a'  out  o'  ae  hill-side. ' 

A    small    fountain,    usually    considered    to    be    '  the    head    of 


Tweed/  at  the  base  of  a  hill  called  Tweed's  Cross,  and  named 
Tweed's  Well,  gives  forth  a  small  rivulet,  which  flows  in  a  north- 
easterly direction,  through  the  parish  of  Tweedsmuir,  receiving 
on  each  side  various  tributary  streams,  including  the  Fruid  and 
the  Talla.  From  Tweedsmuir,  the  Tweed  takes  a  northern 
course  to  Drummelzier,  where  it  receives  the  Powsail  and  the 
united  streams  of  Holms,  Kilbucho,  and  Biggar,  and  forms  the 
boundary  of  the  parish  of  Glenholm.  It  next  intersects  Stobo 
parish,  and  then  receives  the  Lyne,  a  stream  augmented  by  the 
Tarth  and  some  rivulets  in  the  north-western  part  of  the  county. 
United  with  the  Lyne,  the  Tweed  pursues  its  way  in  an  easterly 
direction,  which,  with  few  exceptions,  it  ever  afterwards  main- 
tains. About  a  mile  and  a  half  below  its  junction  with  the 
Lyne,  Manor  Water  joins  it  on  the  right,  and  proceeding  through 
a  gorge  at  Neidpath,  arrives  at  Peebles,  twenty-five  miles  from 
its  source.  At  Peebles,  the  Tweed  receives  Eddleston  Water  on 
the  left ;  after  which,  proceeding  through  the  parish  of  Peebles, 
Soonhope  Burn  falls  into  it  on  the  left,  and  Haystoun  Burn  on 
the  right ;  it  next  separates  the  parishes  of  Innerleithen  and 
Traquair,  receiving  several  dashing  small  burns  in  its  course. 
Near  Innerleithen,  it  is  augmented  by  the  Quair  on  the  right, 
and  the  Leithen  on  the  left  Below  Innerleithen,  it  receives  the 
Walker  Burn  on  the  left ;  two  miles  further  down,  it  is  joined  on 
the  left  by  Gatehope  Burn,  which  here  forms  the  boundary  of 
the  county ;  after  which  it  holds  on  its  course  amidst  the  hills  of 
Selkirkshire,  emerging  a  short  way  below  the  Yair,  on  the  more 
open  and  rich  valley  adorned  by  Abbotsford,  Melrose,  and 

At  this  point,  the  Tweed  receives,  first,  the  Ettrick,  which  has 
been  previously  augmented  by  the  Yarrow,  and  then  the  Gala, 
where  it  enters  Roxburghshire,  becoming  now  a  river  of  more 
imposing  dimensions,  with  banks  more  level  than  in  the  upper 
part  of  its  course.  Before  leaving  the  rich  vale  of  Melrose,  the 
Tweed  is  joined  by  the  Leader  on  its  left  bank,  which  is  the  only 
tributary  of  any  note  till  it  is  increased  by  the  Teviot  on  the 
right,  near  Kelso.  The  Teviot  is  the  largest  tributary  of  the 


Tweed  in  its  whole  course,  and  almost  doubles  it  in  size.  Passing 
Kelso  on  the  left,  and  flowing  majestically  onward,  it  receives 
the  Eden  Water,  and  soon  after  enters  the  level  district  of  the 
Merse,  which  it  separates  from  Northumberland  on  the  south. 
At  Coldstream,  the  Leet  falls  into  it  on  the  Scottish  side  ;  and 
from  two  to  three  miles  further  down,  on  the  English  side,  it 
is  increased  by  the  sluggish  waters  of  the  Till.  Some  miles 
further  on,  it  receives  the  Scottish  river  Whitadder,  a  large 
stream  previously  augmented  by  the  Blackadder  ;  and  shortly 
afterwards,  passing  the  ancient  town  of  Berwick-on-Tweed  on  its 
left,  its  waters  are  poured  into  the  German  Ocean. 

From  head  to  foot,  the  Tweed  is  computed  to  drain  1870 
square  miles.  Through  Peeblesshire,  it  has  a  course  of  forty-one 
miles  ;  Selkirkshire,  nine  miles  ;  Roxburghshire,  nearly  thirty 
miles  ;  and  along  Berwickshire,  somewhat  more  than  twenty-two 
miles  ;  making  a  total  of  102  to  103  miles  in  length.  Its  fall 
from  its  source  to  Peebles  is  about  800  feet  ;  and  from  Peebles  to 
Berwick,  500  feet  ;  or,  reckoning  its  entire  course,  it  has  an 
average  fall  of  thirteen  feet  per  mile.  Being  undisturbed 
by  traffic  on  its  surface,  and  but  slightly  adulterated  by  liquid 
refuse  from  towns  and  manufactories,  as  well  as  possessing,  in 
general,  a  pure  gravelly  bottom,  its  waters,  except  during 
floods,  are  remarkably  clear  and  sparkling.  Until  compar- 
atively recent  times,  occasional  heavy  falls  of  rain  kept  the 
river  flooded  for  days,  when  it  formed  a  broad  sheet  of  turbid 
water,  often  destructive  to  the  crops  on  its  more  level  banks  ; 
but  now,  from  the  general  practice  of  draining,  falls  of  rain 
are  carried  rapidly  off,  and  if  the  river  suddenly  rises,  it  as 
suddenly  subsides,  rarely  causing  any  serious  injury  during  these 
paroxysms.  For  a  long  time,  the  Tweed  was  crossed  by  only 
two  bridges — one  at  Peebles,  and  the  other  at  Berwick  ;  but  now 
it  has  several  stone  and  other  bridges,  besides  railway  viaducts. 
Within  Peeblesshire,  it  has  some  convenient  fords,  passable  in 
ordinary  states  of  the  river. 

The  Vale  of  Tweed  is  generally  of  a  pleasing  sylvan  character, 
the  hills  being  never  far  from  the  banks  of  the  river,  while  the 


eminences  and  lower  lands  are  frequently  clothed  by  woods  and 
plantations.  As  the  ground  recedes  from  the  stream,  except  in 
the  lower  part  of  its  course,  the  country  becomes  wild  and 
pastoral,  and  rises  into  such  elevations  as  equally  to  shut  out 
Lothian  on  the  north,  and  Dumfriesshire  on  the  south.  Though 
constituting  part  of  what  are  sometimes  called  the  Southern 
Highlands,  Peeblesshire  is  not  rugged,  or,  strictly  speaking, 
picturesque.  Its  hills  are,  with  few  exceptions,  rounded  and 
soft  in  outline ;  nor  does  its  geological  formation  admit  of 
many  shelving  precipices  or  deep  dells ;  yet  the  descents  are  in 
some  places  abrupt,  and  clothed  in  natural  shrubbery. 

With  its  rounded  grassy  hills,  offering  the  finest  sheep-pasture, 
its  alluvial  vales,  and  clear  streams,  the  county  is  free  of  any 
properties  detrimental  to  general  salubrity.  With  the  absence 
of  stagnant  pools  or  unwholesome  marshes  is  now  to  be  remarked 
a  high  degree  of  improvement  by  the  reclamation  of  waste  lands 
and  subsoil  drainage,  resulting  in  a  singular  lightness  and  dryness 
of  atmosphere.  Pennicuik  refers  to  the  want  of  timber,  and  the 
little  planting  to  be  seen  in  Tweeddale,  but  even  at  the  time  he 
wrote,  planting  had  begun,  and  it  was  carried  on  to  such  an 
extent  in  the  early  part  of  the  present  century  as  may  now  be 
considered  excessive,  though  in  all  cases  adding  to  the  beauty 
of  the  landscape. 

Peeblesshire  has  gone  through  the  several  well-known  social 
phases  common  to  the  south  of  Scotland — gradually  shaken  off 
its  primitive  Celtic  character,  been  Anglicised  by  processes  after- 
wards to  be  described,  and  passing  through  the  broils  of  an 
unsettled  age,  has  by  a  series  of  developments  attained  to  a 
condition  no  way  differing  from  that  of  the  more  advanced  parts 
of  the  Lothians.  Its  people  are  essentially  of  the  Scottish  Low- 
land type,  with  the  character  and  dialect  appropriate  to  a  variety 
of  the  Anglo-Saxon  race.  The  intonation  of  their  speech, 
however,  is  peculiar.  It  is  less  soft  and  flexible  than  the 
speech  of  Selkirk  or  Roxburgh  shires,  and  is  marked  by  a  strange 
aspirate  or  elevation  of  voice  at  the  end  of  the  sentences.  It 
may  also  be  remarked  that,  in  Peeblesshire,  it  is  not  common,  as 


in  other  parts  of  Lowland  Scotland,  to  convert  terminations  of 
ay  into  a ,  as  awa'  for  away;  and  two  is  here  pronounced,  not 
twa  but  tway,  recalling  the  German  zwey.  For  a,  in  some  words, 
e  is  substituted  ;  dark  and  park,  for  example,  being  pronounced 
derk  and  perk. 

Pennicuik  remarks  that,  from  the  purity  of  the  air  of 
Tweeddale,  the  inhabitants  are  lively,  and  reach  to  a  greater 
age  than  elsewhere.  He  says  :  '  Few  cripples  or  crook-backs 
are  seen  in  the  country ;  but  the  inhabitants  for  the  most 
part  are  strong,  nimble,  and  well  proportioned  ;  both  sexes 
promiscuously  being  conspicuous  for  as  comely  features  as 
any  other  country  in  the  kingdom,  would  but  the  meaner 
sort  take  a  little  more  pains  to  keep  their  bodies  and  dwel- 
lings neat  and  clean,  which  is  too  much  neglected  amongst 
them  ;  and  pity  it  is  to  see  a  clear  complexion  and  lovely  coun- 
tenance appear  with  so  much  disadvantage  through  the  foul 
disguise  of  smoke  and  dirt.'  It  is  scarcely  necessary  to  remark 
that,  since  the  days  of  Pennicuik,  a  great  improvement  has  taken 
place  in  point  of  personal  and  domestic  cleanliness.  The  same 
author  alleges  that  the  people  of  Tweeddale  have  poor  musical 
aptitudes.  '  Musick,1  he  says,  '  is  so  great  a  stranger  to  their 
temper,  that  you  will  hardly  light  upon  one  amongst  six,  that 
can  distinguish  one  tune  from  another ;  yet  those  of  them  that 
hit  upon  the  vein,  may  match  with  the  skilfullest.'  As  some 
relief  to  this  assertion,  we  are  told  the  people  '  are  more  sober  in 
their  diet  and  drinking  than  many  of  the  neighbouring  shires, 
and  when  they  fall  into  the  fit  of  good-fellowship,  they  use 
it  as  a  cement  and  bond  of  society,  and  not  to  foment  or 
revenge  quarrels  and  murders,  which  is  too  ordinary  in  other 

What  changes  Peeblesshire  has  in  late  years  undergone, 
socially  and  physically,  will  afterwards  appear.  Provided  with 
good  roads  throughout,  the  county  has  latterly  been  penetrated 
by  railways  in  different  directions;  and  accordingly  from  once 
having  been  one  of  the  most  isolated  districts  in  the  kingdom,  it 
is  now  among  the  most  accessible.  Independently  of  its  natural 


attractions,  of  which  its  angling  streams  are  not  the  least  prized, 
the  county  abounds  in  memorials  of  the  past — more  particularly 
the  hill-forts  of  an  early  British  people,  and  those  ruined  feudal 
strengths  of  a  subsequent  era,  which  are  so  strikingly  in  contrast 
with  the  tasteful  modern  residences  now  spread  throughout  the 
county.  An  allusion  to  the  gray  and  forlorn  ruins  which  are 
seen  on  the  Tweed — the  species  of  ruins  signalised  in  the  graphic 
lines  of  Moir : 

'  Through  Halls  where  lords  and  ladies  swept, 
Now  sweep  the  wind  and  rain ' — 

reminds  us  that  there  is  a  charm  associated  with  the  Tweed, 
apart  from  any  topographic  peculiarity — the  charm  of  historical 
and  poetical  association.  As  the  frontier  of  what  were  for  ages 
two  hostile  kingdoms,  the  whole  valley  whence  the  river  gathers 
its  waters  is  the  prolific  scene  of  story  and  ballad  literature  ;  and 
for  the  full  enjoyment  of  the  scenery,  we  must  allow  the  imagin- 
ation to  wander  back  for  centuries,  and  be  fascinated  by  the 
tender  and  chivalrous  minstrelsy  of  the  Scottish  Border.  Along 
with  several  of  the  lesser  streams — and  we  may  name  the  Quair, 
Gala,  Ettrick,  Yarrow,  Leader,  and  Teviot — the  Tweed  has  been 
the  theme  of  many  popular  lyrics  of  old  and  modern  date  ;  its 
simple  natural  beauties  ever  serving  as  the  subject  of  poetic 


'  I  've  seen  the  morning 
With  gold  the  hills  adorning, 

And  the  loud  tempest  storming  before  the  mid-day ; 
I  've  seen  Tweed's  silver  streams 
Glitt'ring  in  the  sunny  beams, 
Grow  drumly  and  dark  as  he  roll'd  on  his  way. ' 

So  sings  Mrs  Cockburn,1  in  her  elegant  modernised  version  of 
the  Flowers  of  the  Forest;  but  long  previously  the  river  had  been 
the  subject  of  the  well-known  canzonet,  Tweedside,  written,  as  is 
believed,  by  John  Lord  Yester,  eventually  second  Marquis  of 
Tweeddale : 

'  I  whistled,  I  piped,  and  I  sang  ; 

I  wooed,  but  I  cam  nae  great  speed, 
Therefore  I  maun  wander  abroad, 

And  lay  my  banes  far  frae  the  Tweed. ' 

1  This  lady  was  a  daughter  of  Mr  Rutherford  of  Fernilee,  Selkirkshire. 


Next,  came  the  mellow  and  flowing  pastorals  of  Crawford,1  The 
Bush  aboon  Traqtiair,  The  Broom  of  the  Cowdenknowes,  and  the 
newer  version  of  Tweedside — this  last-mentioned  effusion  being  a 
perfect  warble  of  birds  mingled  with  the  bleating  of  sheep — 
sounds  the  most  prominent  of  all  which  salute  the  ear  within 
the  bounds  of  the  county.  Crawford  might  be  said  to  have 
constituted  himself  poet-laureate  of  this  favourite  pastoral 
region,  when  he  wrote 

'  What  beauties  does  Flora  disclose, 

How  sweet  are  her  smiles  upon  Tweed  ! 

*  *  * 

The  warblers  are  heard  in  the  grove, 

The  linnet,  the  lark,  and  the  thrush  ; 
The  blackbird,  and  sweet-cooing  dove, 

With  music  enchant  every  bush. 
Come,  let  us  go  forth  to  the  mead  ; 

Let  us  see  how  the  primroses  spring  ; 
We  '11  lodge  in  some  village  on  Tweed, 

And  love  while  the  feather'd  folk  sing. 

*  *  * 

Say,  charmer,  where  do  thy  flocks  stray? 

Oh,  tell  me  at  morn  where  they  feed  ? 
Shall  I  seek  them  on  sweet  winding  Tay, 

Or  the  pleasanter  banks  of  the  Tweed. ' 

It  cannot  be  mentioned  without  regret,  that  a  river  which  has 
evoked  such  tender  emotions,  and  must  ever  be  an  object  of 
pleasing  contemplation  to  the  cultivated  mind,  should  in  reality 
be  a  source  of  local  discord  and  demoralisation.  We,  of  course, 
point  to  the  brawls,  assaults,  and  offences  of  various  kinds  which 
are  of  constant  occurrence  in  connection  with  the  Tweed  fisheries ; 
for  it  might  with  justice  be  said,  that  the  practice  of  illegally 
destroying  salmon  at  seasons  when  it  ascends  the  river  to  spawn, 
and  is  unfit  for  human  food — unhappily  reduced  to  a  species 
of  clandestine  profession — leads  not  only  to  serious  moral  and 
economic  disorder,  but  almost  doubles  the  amount  of  crime  in 
the  sheriffdom.  Perhaps  we  are  entitled  to  add,  that  recent 
legislation  holds  out  some  hope  of  at  least  a  certain  modification 

1  Robert  Crawford,  second  son  of  Patrick  Crawford  of  Drumsoy,   Renfrewshire, 
died  1732. 


of  this  grievous  chronic  evil.     Leaving  the  subject,  however,  for 
future  illustration,  we  gladly  pass  to  other  topics. 

Hitherto,  chiefly  pastoral  and  agricultural,  and  with  manu- 
factures of  comparatively  recent  growth,  the  county  can  boast  of  no 
density  of  population.  Peebles,  its  ancient  royal  burgh,  the  seat 
of  a  sheriff  and  centre  of  local  management,  remains  its  only  town, 
though  Innerleithen,  situated  six  miles  lower  down  the  Tweed,  is 
rapidly  growing  out  of  the  dimensions  of  a  village.  The  county 
has  fourteen  parochial  divisions,  each  with  a  kirk  and  settled 
minister  ;  but  with  these  divisions  are  incorporated  certain 
parishes,  existing  for  all  civil  purposes.  Pennicuik  speaks  of 
the  population  of  the  county  as  being  in  his  time  (1715)  about 
8000,  and  as  now,  after  a  lapse  of  a  hundred  and  fifty  years,  it  is 
only  about  12,000,  we  should  have  some  grounds  for  surprise  in 
the  slowness  of  the  increase,  did  we  not  bear  in  mind  that  the 
aggregation  of  small  tenures  into  large  ones,  in  adaptation  to 
an  improved  rural  economy,  has  caused  a  large  and  continuous 
stream  of  emigration.  As  long  as  memory  reaches,  whole 
families  have  been  migrating  to  more  eligible  fields  of  industry; 
while  it  is  equally  certain  that  there  are  few  domestic  circles 
within  the  county  which  have  not  been  thinned  by  the  voluntary 
removal  of  members — the  young  men  in  particular — to  one  or 
other  of  the  cities  in  the  United  Kingdom,  or  to  our  more  distant 
colonial  possessions. 


THE  History  of  Peeblesshire,  as  far  as  it  can  be  told,  may 
properly  begin  with  the  Roman  invasion  of  the  northern 
part  of  Britain,  at  which  period  the  country  was  occupied 
by  a  people  of  the  same  Celtic  stock  as  those  who  inhabited 
the  southern  division  of  the  island  as  well  as  Gaul.  This  people 
are  now  ordinarily  spoken  of  as  Britons,  but  the  Romans  gave 
them  the  general  name,  Caledonii — meaning,  it  is  supposed, 
'  dwellers  in  woods,"  and  further  particularised  the  northern 
tribes,  twenty-one  in  number,  by  special  designations.  The  tribe 
of  Caledonians  occupying  what  we  now  call  Tweeddale  were 
styled  by  them  the  Gadeni ;  two  of  the  tribes  who  more  imme- 
diately adjoined  them  being  the  Ottadini  on  the  east  and  north, 
and  the  Selgovae  on  the  west.  The  Gadeni,  to  call  them  so, 
were  pagans,  and  barbarous  in  manners.  They  depended  mainly 
on  hunting  and  the  pasturage  of  cattle  for  subsistence,  dwelt 
in  movable  tents  or  shielings  composed  of  turf,  twigs,  and  the 
skins  of  wild  animals,  and  were  probably  unacquainted,  in  the 
earlier  part  of  their  history,  with  implements  of  metal.  Their 
hammers  and  their  hatchets  were  chiefly  of  stone,  and  with  these 
they  constructed  their  dwellings,  and  fought  in  their  savage 
encounters.  When  their  chiefs  were  slain  in  battle,  or  died 
after  a  life  of  heroic  exertion,  it  was  customary  to  bury  them 
with  their  war  hammers  and  axes — a  practice  which  survived 


subsequently  to  the  introduction  of  metal  instruments  and 
articles  of  personal  adornment. 

Such  was  the  people  who,  according  to  the  feeble  light  of 
history,  inhabited  the  vale  of  Tweed  from  a  period  lost  in  the 
darkness  of  antiquity.  The  frail  habitations  of  this  primitive 
race  have  been  long  swept  away,  leaving  no  visible  trace  of  their 
existence  ;  but  the  names  which  they  imparted  to  the  hills  and 
other  physical  features  of  the  country,  as  likewise  the  names  of 
places,  still  survive ;  their  tombs  are  also  occasionally  discovered ; 
and  many  hill-tops  are  crowned  with  the  remains  of  their  rudely- 
constructed  forts  or  encampments.  It  is  from  a  study  of  these 
varied  antiquities,  as  well  as  from  the  casual  allusions  of  Roman 
writers,  that  any  knowledge  is  obtained  respecting  this  early 
people  ;  such  knowledge,  however,  not  extending  to  their  origin 
and  early  history. 

In  almost  every  parish — but  more  in  the  western  than 
the  eastern  part  of  the  county — the  very  ancient  graves  here 
referred  to  have  been  found.  They  abound  on  the  Lyne,  and 
less  numerously  have  been  discovered  in  the  parishes  of  Kirkurd, 
Glenholm,  and  Peebles.  Usually,  they  are  discovered  in  the 
fields  bordering  on  streams — sometimes  on  hillocks,  but  more 
frequently  on  level  ground,  where  they  have  accidentally  come 
to  light  in  the  course  of  tillage.  Wheresoever  found,  these 
graves  are  the  same  in  character.  They  consist  of  rude  slabs  of 
stone  disposed  in  the  form  of  a  coffin  ;  several  pieces  forming  the 
bottom,  and  as  many  the  top  and  the  sides.  No  cement  had 
been  employed  in  their  construction ;  and  with  a  suitable  number 
of  flattish  stones  gathered  from  the  nearest  hillside,  one  of  these 
tombs  or  cists  might  have  been  made  in  the  space  of  an  hour. 
They  do  not  appear  to  have  been  placed  in  reference  to  any 
particular  direction  of  the  compass.  They  lie  all  sorts  of  ways. 
On  being  explored,  these  cists  are  for  the  most  part  seen  to 
contain  only  a  few  mouldering  bones,  with  nothing  specially  to 
distinguish  them.  In  a  few  instances  they  have  contained  stone 
or  metal  weapons  and  ornaments,  indicating  the  state  of  art 
at  the  period  of  their  construction. 



Some  years  ago,  there  was  found  in  a  cist  on  the  farm  of 
Bonnington,  parish  of  Peebles,  the  head  of  a  stone  hammer  with 
a  hole  for  the  handle.  This  hammer-head  differed  in  no  respect 
from  objects  of  a  similar  kind  picked  up  elsewhere  in  Scotland. 
It  is  now  in  the  museum  at  Peebles,  and  we  give  a  representa- 
tion of  it  sidewise  and  in  front.  The  weight  of  the  article  is 

about  22  ounces. 

Rude  as  was  this  species  of  imple- 
ment, it  could  not  be  made  without 
considerable  labour  and  ingenuity,  nor, 
can  we  well  believe,  without  the  aid  of 
metal.  From  recent  discoveries,  it  is 

ascertained  that  there  were,  in  different 

if  places    in    England,    manufactories    of 

stone  weapons,  one  being  at  Newton, 
Fig.  i.— Stone  Hammer.       jn   the   county   of  Durham,  at  which 
articles   of  this    kind    have    been    dug    up    in    various    stages 
of  preparation.      From    these  centres,    the  weapons  would  be 
dispersed  by  barter  or  otherwise  over  the  country. 

Stone  implements  of  a  simpler  kind,  however,  known  as  celts, 
chisels,  or  hatchets,  have  been  found  in  the  county,  and  of  these 
there  are  several  specimens  in  the  museum  at 
Peebles.  They  are  of  small  size,  thinner  than  the 
hammer-heads,  and  unprovided  with  a  hole  ;  when 
used  as  an  axe,  they  must  have  been  held  firmly 
by  thongs  in  a  cleft  of  the  handle.  In  fig.  2,  we 
offer  a  representation  of  one  of  these  wedge-like 
implements,  which  had  probably  been  used  as  a 
Fi  2  —Stone  Axe  battle-axe,  as  is  now  customary  among  Polynesian 


Peeblesshire  possessed  the  quern,  or  domestic  hand-mill  for 
grinding.  As  usual,  this  ancient  utensil  consisted  of  an  upper 
and  lower  stone,  circular  in  form,  and  ten  to  twenty-three  inches 
in  diameter.  The  upper  was  provided  with  an  orifice  in  the 
centre  for  receiving  the  grain,  and  an  aperture  near  the  side,  in 
which  a  stick  or  handle  was  loosely  inserted,  for  the  purpose  of 


communicating  a  rapid  motion.      The  lower  stone,  sometimes 

shaped  like  a  dish  with  a  raised  rim,  had  a  notch  or  hole  in  the 

side  whence  the  meal  or  flour  escaped.     An  upper  stone,  part  of 

an  ancient  quern,  dug  up  at  Glenormiston,  parish  of  Innerleithen, 

is   represented   in  the  annexed  cut,  fig.  3  ;   it   measures  about 

10  inches  in  diameter,  and  weighs  27  Ibs.     In  this  specimen,  a 

hole,  in  which  a  projecting 

handle   had    been    fixed, 

is  on  the  side  instead  of 

the  top — a   circumstance 

which  leads  us  to  think 

that  two  persons  seated 

opposite       each       other, 

placed  the  mill  between 

them,    and     kept     it    in  Fig-  3-— Quern. 

motion  by  giving  a  push  alternately.     Such,  at  least,  whether  by 

an   upright  or  horizontally  projecting  handle,  appears  to  have 

been    the   method  of  moving   domestic   mills  in   Syria  :  '  Two 

women    shall   be  grinding  at  the    mill'  (Matt.  xxiv.  41).      Dr 

Clarke  mentions  that,  in  travelling  through  Palestine,  he  saw 

two  women  so  occupied.1     What  is  more  curious,  the  people  of 

the  Faroe  Islands  still  use  the  quern,  and  have  no  other  means 

of  grinding  their  grain. 

Portable  mills  of  this  kind  in  use  by  the  Roman  armies,  were 
called  mola  manuaria.  As  several  specimens  of  querns  have 
been  found  in  Peeblesshire,  not  differing  greatly  from  that  above 
referred  to,  they  appear  to  have  been  as  common  in  the  county 
as  in  other  parts  of  Scotland,  but  ceased  to  be  employed  at 
a  period  beyond  the  reach  of  memory.  Possibly  they  were 

1  '  The  two  women,  seated  upon  the  ground,  opposite  to  each  other,  held  between 
them  the  two  round  flat  stones,  such  as  are  seen  in  Lapland,  and  such  as  in  Scotland 
are  called  querns.  In  the  centre  of  the  upper  stone  was  a  cavity  for  pouring  in  the 
corn ;  by  the  side  of  this,  an  upright  wooden  handle  for  moving  the  stone.  As  the  opera- 
tion began,  one  of  the  women  with  her  right  hand  pushed  this  handle  to  the  woman 
opposite,  who  again  sent  it  to  her  companion — thus  communicating  a  rotatory  and 
rapid  motion  to  the  upper  stone  ;  their  left  hands  being  all  the  while  employed  in 
supplying  fresh  corn,  as  fast  as  the  bran  and  flour  escaped  from  the  sides  of  the 
machine.' — Travels,  iv.,  p.  167. 



superseded  by  town  and  village  mills,  but  as  these  failed  to 
meet  all  requirements,  there  was  a  practice  of  preparing  a 
small  quantity  of  meal  or  barley  by  beating  grain  in  a  hollowed 
stone,  on  the  principle  of  the  pestle  and  mortar.  These  stone 
mortars,  known  as  knocking-stones,  appear  to  have  been  gene- 
rally in  use  until  comparatively  recent  times,  for  specimens 
are  still  seen  lying  about  cottage-doors  or  built  into  walls. 
We  give,  in  fig.  4,  the  representation  of 
one  which  had  belonged  to  a  farmer  near 

The  use  of  metal  weapons  marks  a 
degree  of  social  progress  and  opulence,  but 
as  such  are  found  in  barrows  no  way  differ- 
ing from  those  containing  objects  in  stone, 
they  must  be  accepted  as  belonging  to  the 

same  people,  though  at  a  slightly  advanced 
Fig.  4.— Stone  Mortar.         period 

The  metal  ornaments  found  in  the  repositories  of  the  dead 
have  been  mostly  of  that  strange  drawer-handle  shape  which, 
though  at  first  somewhat  puzzling  to  antiquaries,  are  now  shewn 
to  have  been  bracelets  for  the  wrist.  Armillae  of  gold  have  been 
brought  to  light  in  Peeblesshire,  such  as  have  been  so  profusely 
discovered  in  Ireland  and  in  some  parts  of 
Scotland.  But  more  commonly  they  have 
been  of  bronze,  and  are  crusted  with  verdi- 
gris. A  number  of  ornaments  of  that  inferior 
kind  were  found  in  digging  at  Glenormiston, 
and  a  representation  of  one  of  them  is  given 
Fig-  5.— Bracelet.  in  fig.  5.  In  size,  it  is  adapted  to  the  wrist. 
Another  variety  of  antiquities  of  the  same  date,  the  stand- 
ing-stones, are  seen  in  different  places,  consisting  of  rough 
unshapely  slabs  of  the  native  grit  or  whin,  stuck  in  the  ground, 
singly,  or  in  groups  less  or  more  circular.  At  one  time,  the 
theory  entertained  respecting  these  and  all  similar  standing- 
stones  was,  that  they  were  the  remains  of  Druidic  temples. 
George  Chalmers  calls  them  Druid  oratories,  and  is  intolerant 


'of  any  other  notion.     The  more  prevalent  opinion  among  anti- 
quaries now  is,  that  standing-stones  are  in  the  greater  number 

Fig.  6. — Standing- Stones,  Sheriff  Muir. 

of  instances  monuments  over  the  graves  of  warriors  or  other 
distinguished  persons,  or  were  set  up  to  commemorate  some 
important  victory. 

Of  all  the  structural  remains  of  this  ancient  people,  the 
most  enduring  have  been  their  defensible  encampments  or 
hill-forts.  Whether  these  intrenchments  belong  to  an  age 
anterior  to  the  Roman  invasion,  cannot  be  determined  with  any 
accuracy.  The  conclusion  we  have  come  to  after  inspecting 
them  is,  that  they  are  the  work  of  different  ages,  for  some 
are  much  larger  and  more  imposing  than  others,  as  if  their 
constructers  had  gained  a  knowledge  of  the  art  of  rearing 
defensible  camps  during  the  Roman  occupancy.  The  circum- 
stance of  a  number  of  these  hill-forts  being  traditionally  called 
chesters,  would  also  seem  to  indicate  some  relationship  to  the 
military  castra  of  the  Romans.  Any  speculations  of  this  kind, 
however,  are  necessarily  vague,  and  it  must  ever  remain  a 
matter  of  doubt  at  what  precise  era  between  the  first  and  fifth 
or  sixth  centuries,  the  circular  and  oval  British  hill-forts  were 


constructed.  After  glancing  at  a  few  historical  facts,  we  shall 
submit  an  account  of  their  actual  appearance. 

The  Roman  invasion,  in  the  first  century  of  our  era,  must 
doubtless  have  produced  a  convulsive  movement  in  the  country 
bordering  on  the  Tweed  and  its  tributaries.  Accustomed  as  the 
Gadeni  were  to  warlike  alarms,  they  could  not  fail  to  be  startled 
with  rumours  of  the  conquests  of  Agricola  and  his  well-disciplined 
legionaries  ;  for  already,  Nithsdale,  Annandale,  and  Clydesdale 
had  been  reached  by  this  strangely-powerful  host  of  foreigners  ; 
and  we  can  well  understand  how  the  natives  should  have  betaken 
themselves,  with  their  families  and  goods,  to  intrenchments  on 
the  tops  of  the  hills,  with  the  hope  of  resisting  the  invaders. 
Nor  was  this  heroism  altogether  unavailing,  for,  as  is  known,  the 
Celtic  tribes  in  the  south  of  Scotland,  though  unable  to  prevent 
the  Romans  from  planting  military  posts,  gave  them  no  little 
trouble  during  the  whole  of  their  stay.  What  concerns  us  here, 
however,  is  the  nature  of  this  foreign  occupation  in  Peeblesshire. 

Passing  through  the  country  by  way  of  Biggar,  the  Romans 
seem  to  have  detached  a  force  eastwards  to  Tweeddale,  where 
they  found  a  site  every  way  suitable  for  a  strong  permanent 
encampment.  This  was  the  broad  summit  of  a  knoll  skirted  on 
the  west  and  south  by  the  Lyne,  easy  of  access,  yet  defensible,  not 
readily  overlooked,  and  with  the  advantage  of  being  near  to  water.1 
On  this  favourable  spot  they  constructed  one  of  their  castra 
stativa,  the  remains  of  which  attest  the  strength  and  importance 
of  the  post.  There  is  reason  to  suppose  that  this  camp  on  the 
Lyne  may  have  been  formed  some  time  between  the  years  80 
and  84.  What  it  was  called  is  uncertain.  Antiquaries  hesitate 
between  two  names — Corda  and  Colonia  ;  but  it  may  be  neither. 
The  distance  of  the  camp  from  the  Roman  road  through  the 
upper  part  of  Clydesdale  is  about  nine  miles. 

Although  inferior  to  that  at  Ardoch,  in  Perthshire,  the  camp 
at  Lyne  has  been  of  a  magnitude  sufficient  to  convey  a  correct 

1  The  camp  is  situated  on  the  farm  of  Lyne  (Earl  of  Wemyss,  proprietor),  a  short 
way  west  of  Lyne  church,  at  the  distance  of  about  five  miles  from  Peebles,  and  is 
accessible  by  a  cross-road  from  the  highway. 


idea  of  this  species  of  military  defence.  As  it  existed  towards 
the  conclusion  of  last  century,  it  forms  one  of  the  illustrations  in 
Major-general  Roy's  Military  Antiquities  (1793),  and  from  that  it 
will  be  easy  to  judge  of  its  extent  and  importance.  According 
to  Roy's  measurements,  the  camp  was  a  parallelogram  with 
rounded  corners.  The  whole  was  comprehended  in  a  length  of 
850  feet,  by  a  breadth  of  750  feet.  Such  measurement  included 
the  extremities  of  the  outer  vallum.  Within  this  exterior  wall 
were  other  mounds  with  sunk  ditches.  The  cleared  space  within 
measured  575  by  475  feet.  The  adjoining  cut,  fig.  7,  copied 

Fig.  7. — Roman  Camp  at  Lyne  in  its  original  form. 

on  a  slightly  reduced  scale  from  Roy's  engraving,  represents  the 
camp  in  its  original  form,  with  four  environing  walls  pierced  by 
an  entrance  on  each  side  of  the  parallelogram. 

It  is  matter  of  regret  that  since  the  period  of  Roy's  survey, 
the  camp  has  suffered  serious  mutilations,  and  to  all  appearance 
it  is  destined  to  entire  obliteration  during  the  next  fifty  years. 
On  visiting  the  camp,  we  found  it  under  crop,  and  learned  that 
it  suffers  fresh  injury  on  each  occasion  of  being  subjected  to  the 



plough.  In  its  present  condition,  as  represented  in  fig.  8,  nearly 
the  whole  of  the  north  side  is  gone.  The  centre  is  level,  with 
nothing  to  mark  the  site  of  the  pratorium ;  but  the  entrances 

Fig.  8. — Roman  Camp  at  Lyne  in  its  mutilated  state. 

on  the  three  surviving  sides  are  still  recognisable.  The  hollow 
between  the  outer  and  inner  mound  measures  20  feet,  the 
breadth  of  each  mound  is  14  feet,  and  the  height  of  the  mounds 
4  to  5  feet.  The  inner  walls  have  risen  above  that  on  the 
outside,  as  appears  at  the  north-east  corner,  where  traces  of  the 
whole  four  are  most  perceptible.  There  had  been  some  works 
exterior  to  the  camp.  A  few  years  ago,  the  remains  of  Roman 
cooking  utensils,  in  brown  earthenware,  were  found  at  a  spot 
about  30  feet  beyond  the  outer  vallum  on  the  north  ;  these  relics 
are  now  in  the  museum  at  Peebles.  Cooking  operations  had 
probably  been  carried  on  at  the  spot,  for  which  there  would  be 
facilities,  presented  by  adjacent  springs  of  water  which  have 
disappeared  in  the  course  of  agricultural  improvement.  At  the 
distance  of  150  yards  from  the  eastern  entrance,  there  is  a 
prominent  knoll  with  a  circular  mound  on  its  summit,  enclosing 


a  space  of  18  feet  in  diameter,  which  may  be  assumed  to  have 
been  a  post  of  outlook  for  the  garrison. 

Supposing  this  camp  to  have  been  established  not  later  than 
84,  it  could  only  have  been  in  use  thirty-three  years,  when,  in  117, 
the  Romans  abandoned  the  chain  of  forts  erected  by  Agricola 
between  the  Forth  and  Clyde,  and  withdrew  behind  a  new 
barrier,  the  wall  of  Hadrian,  extending  from  the  Tyne  to  the 
Solway.  But  twenty  years  later,  the  more  northerly  line  of 
defence  was  resumed  by  Lollius  Urbicus,  governor  of  Britain 
under  Antoninus  Pius,  from  whom  the  barrier,  now  greatly 
strengthened,  became  known  as  the  wall  of  Antoninus.  Whether, 
on  this  resumption  of  their  former  power,  the  Romans  returned 
to  their  post  at  Lyne,  is  unknown,  though,  from  the  magnitude  of 
the  remains,  as  well  as  the  vigorous  prosecution  of  the  Roman 
conquests,  it  is  probable  that  they  did  so.  Their  new  occupancy 
of  the  country  was  not  so  brief  as  the  preceding.  They 
retained  possession  till  their  abandonment  of  Britain  about 
410,  during  which  interval  Peeblesshire  constituted  part  of 
the  Roman  province  of  Valentia. 

The  withdrawal  of  the  Romans  is  understood  to  have  been 
followed  by  two  kinds  of  invasion.  No  longer  kept  in  check  by 
the  wall  of  Antoninus,  the  northern  Caledonian  tribes,  to  whom 
has  been  assigned  the  name  of  Picts,  made  incursions  southwards, 
more,  as  is  said,  with  the  view  of  plunder  than  of  conquest. 
About  the  same  time,  if  not  previously,  colonies  of  Frisians, 
Angles,  and  other  continental  races  established  themselves  on 
the  shores  of  the  German  Ocean  and  Firth  of  Forth,  and  began 
to  make  unwelcome  visits  in  a  westerly  and  southerly  direction 
towards  the  recesses  of  the  vale  of  Tweed.  Embarrassed  and 
not  a  little  terrified  by  those  incursions  from  opposite  direc- 
tions, a  group  of  Romanised  Britons,  including  the  Gadeni  and 
Selgovae,  are  conjectured  to  have  laid  aside  mutual  jealousies, 
and  formed  themselves  into  a  defensive  confederacy,  which 
is  known  in  history  as  the  Regnum  Cumbrense — the  Cumbrian 
kingdom,  or  kingdom  of  Strathclyde. 

This    kingdom,    with    its    capital    at    Alcluyd,    the    modern 


Dumbarton,  comprehended  the  greater  part  of  the  south  of 
Scotland,  and  was  only  circumscribed  by  the  settlements  of  the 
Anglo-Saxons.  To  what  extent  the  Picts  were  able  to  establish 
an  influence  among  the  Romanised  Britons  of  Strathclyde,  is 

According  to  the  most  trustworthy  accounts,  the  residuary 
Romanised  Britons  on  the  Tweed,  under  whatever  designation 
or  however  assisted,  were  put  to  great  straits  in  stemming  the 
Anglian  invasion,  and  for  security  resorted  to  the  erection 
of  defensible  barriers,  which  ultimately  proved  less  availing  than 
had  been  the  means  of  resistance  to  the  Romans.  A  double 
vallum  and  fosse  were  constructed,  stretching  from  the  high 
grounds  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Galashiels  to  the  mountains  of 
Northumberland,  and  this  barrier,  known  as  the  Catrail  or  Picts- 
work-ditck,  was  supported  by  innumerable  forts,  which  crown 
the  tops  of  the  hills  in  Roxburgh,  Selkirk,  and  Peebles  shires 
— particularly  in  Peeblesshire,  which,  as  a  central  mountainous 
district  between  sea  and  sea,  may  be  deemed  to  have  been  the 
last  and  most  resolutely  maintained  stronghold  of  the  Gadeni. 
With  a  knowledge  of  the  protracted  attempts  to  defend  the 
upper  section  of  the  vale  of  Tweed  against  the  invading  forces — 
Anglian  and  Frisian,  but  it  is  believed  also  Scandinavian — which 
made  their  attacks  from  the  east  and  north,  we  are  able  to 
appreciate  the  difficulty  of  assigning  any  particular  era  to  the 
hill-forts  of  the  aboriginal  and  severely-tried  inhabitants— of 
which  antiquities  some  account  may  now  be  given. 

Within  Peeblesshire  may  be  reckoned  upwards  of  fifty  British 
camps,  all  circular  or  oval  in  form,  and  of  lesser  or  greater 
dimensions.  They  are  usually  situated  on  the  summits  of  hills 
of  moderate  elevation  ;  their  ordinary  height  being  from  400  to 
500  feet  above  the  Tweed.  Such  elevations  seem  to  have  been 
chosen  in  preference  to  higher  points  in  the  neighbourhood,  as  if 
it  were  considered  sufficient  that  the  camps  overlooked  the 
passes  in  the  vicinity,  and  had  the  advantage  of  some  easily 
defensible  ground  on  two  or  three  sides.  All  the  camps  are 
composed  of  intrenchmcnts  of  earth  and  stones,  with  sunk 


ditches  between  the  several  rings.  Some  had  consisted  of  two, 
others  of  three,  and  a  few  of  four  concentric  circles  or  ellipses, 
rising  one  above  another  to  a  central  space,  in  which  had  been 
the  dwellings  of  the  occupants.  As  an  additional  means  of 
defence,  exterior  ramparts  taking  an  irregular  sweep  on  one  side, 
had  in  a  few  instances  been  employed. 

Wherever  situated,  the  country  people  around  possess  no 
reliable  tradition  respecting  the  origin  of  these  ancient  forts, 
which,  often  spoken  of  familiarly  as  'rings/  'camps/  or 
'chesters/  are  imputed  to  the  Romans  or  the  Danes — never 
to  the  aborigines — and  have  excited  so  little  interest  as  to  be 
thought  scarcely  worthy  of  preservation.  Several  are  known 
to  have  disappeared  in  the  course  of  agricultural  and  other 
improvements,  and  those  we  have  to  enumerate  are  possibly 
not  all  that  might  be  discovered. 


Cairn  Fort,  Ringside  Edge,      .  .  Eddleston. 

Northshield  Rings,  above  Portmore,  .  « 

Milkiston  Rings,  near  Eddleston,         .  « 

Harehope  Fort,      ....  » 

Harehope  Rings,          ...  « 

Meldon-hill  Fort,  ....      Peebles. 
Janet's  Brae  Forts  (two  in  number),     .  » 

Cardie-hill  Fort,  Glentress  Forest,  « 

Rittlegairy-hill  Fort,  Soonhope,  .  r. 

Cademuir-hill  Forts  (two  in  number),         .  « 

Camp-law  Fort  (partly  in  Traquair),     . 
Caerlee  Fort,  near  Innerleithen,     .  .      Innerleithen. 

Pirn-hill  Fort, 

Rirnie-hill  Fort,  near  Purvis-hill,    .  .  « 

Chesters,  near  Glen,     .  .  .  Traquair. 

Chester-hill  Fort,  near  Grieston,     .  .  « 

Castle-knowe  Fort,  above  Cardrona,    .  » 

Highland  Shiel  Fort,          ...» 
Charge-law  Fort,  head  of  Railzie  Hope, 
Torwood  Fort,  near  Railzie,          .  .  « 

Hogsknowe  Fort,         .  .  .  Manor. 

Ringknowe  Fort,  • 

Chester-hill  Fort,         ...  • 




Broughton,  Glenholm,  and  Kilbucho. 


Hound-hill  Fort,    . 
Kerr's  Knowe  Fort, 
Hog-hill  Fort, 
Dreva  Craig  Fort, 
Chester-knowes  Fort, 
Chester-lees  Fort, 
Hamildean-hill  Fort, 
Candyburn  Castle  Fort, 
Muirburn  Castle  Fort, 
Mitchel-hill  Rings, 
Mill  Rings,  Trebetha-hill,  . 
Helm  End  Fort, 
Langlaw-hill  Fort,  . 
Fort  near  Stirkfield, 
Knowe  Kniffling  Fort, 
Rachan-hill  Fort, 
Coomlees  Fort, 
The  Rings,  Chester  Rigs, 
Fort  on  Holms  Water, 
Ladyurd  Rings, 
Fort  south  of  Lochurd, 
Fort  north  of  Lochurd, 
Blythbank-hill  Fort, 
Blyth-hill  Fort, 
Henderland-hill  Fort, 
Bordland  Rings, 
Whiteside-hill  Fort, 
Drochill-hill  Forts  (two  in  number), 

The  greater  number  of  these  forts  are  on  a  comparatively 
small  scale,  consisting  of  two  intrenchments  or  rings  with  an 
intervening  ditch,  and  embracing  an  area  of  from  150  to  2OO 
feet  in  diameter.  Simple  in  construction,  and  found  chiefly  in 
the  central  part  of  the  county,  these  lesser  forts  probably  date, 
in  many  instances,  from  a  period  anterior  to  or  coeval  with  the 
Roman  invasion.  The  larger  and  more  elaborate  variety  of  hill- 
encampments  are,  with  equal  probability,  to  be  referred  to  that 
later  period  when  the  Romanised  Britons,  improved  in  the  art  of 
castramctation,  found  it  necessary  to  employ  all  their  skill  in 
defending  themselves  from  Anglian  and  other  foreign  intruders 





on  the  north  and  east,  and  Picts  and  Scoto-Irish  on  the  west. 
The  situation  of  these  more  imposing  British  forts  at  least  bears 
out  this  conjecture,  for  they  are  seen  only  at  those  places  where 
the  interior  of  this  mountain-region  is  accessible  by  an  invading 
host.  Tweeddale  is  reached  from  Mid-Lothian  chiefly  by  the 
vales  of  Eddleston  and  Lyne,  and  both  were  strongly  guarded 
by  forts.  The  group  in  the  parish  of  Eddleston  consisted  of 
Cairn  Fort,  Northshield  Rings,  Milkiston  Rings,  Harehope 
Rings,  and  some  others,  including  rings  at  Wormiston  and 
Darnhall,  which  are  now  defaced.  Cairn  Fort,  situated  on 
the  Ringside  Edge,  had  apparently  been  only  a  small  detached 
outpost.  The  principal  reliance  had  been  placed  on  Northshield 
and  Milkiston  Rings  on  the  east,  and  Wormiston  and  Harehope 
Rings  on  the  west  side  of  the  Eddleston  ;  for  these  commanded 
the  lower  passes,  as  well  as  the  mountain-pathways,  towards  the 
banks  of  the  Tweed. 

Northshield  Rings  occupy  the  summit  of  a  knoll  behind  the 
modern  mansion  of  Portmore,  and  have  apparently  served  the 
purpose  of  guarding  the  approach,  not  only  by  the  Eddleston, 
but  also  the  South  Esk.  Through  the  good  taste  of  a  former 
proprietor,  the  late  Colin  Mackenzie,  Esq.,  the  camp  has  been 
carefully  preserved  in  an  open  enclosure  within  a  plantation. 
Oval  in  form,  it  consists  of  three  clearly-defined  walls  with 
sunk  ditches,  measuring  450  feet  in  length  by  370  in  breadth. 
Two  entrances,  one  on  the  west,  the  other  on  the  east  side,  but 
not  opposite  each  other,  give  access  to  a  central  space  of  250  by 
200  feet.  The  whole  works  constitute  an  interesting  relic  of 
antiquity,  and  possess  the  advantage  of  being  easily  reached  by 
a  pathway  from  Portmore. 

At  the  distance  of  about  a  mile  south  from  Northshield,  and 
crowning  a  similar  height,  is  the  fort  known  as  Milkiston  Rings, 
the  largest  and  most  methodically  constructed  of  its  class  in 
Peeblesshire.  This  great  work  of  art  affords  a  good  specimen 
of  the  more  elaborate  species  of  British  encampments,  in  which, 
with  the  regular  mounds  of  circumvallation,  is  combined  a 
detached  rampart  to  receive  the  first  shock  of  attack.  The 


camp  had  consisted  of  four  concentric  walls  of  earth  and  stone, 
with  deep  intervening  ditches,  enclosing  a  central  space  in  which 
were  the  dwellings  of  the  occupants  ;  access  to  the  interior  being 
gained  by  two  entrances  perforating  the  several  rings  in  a 
diagonal  direction.  Somewhat  oval  in  form,  the  camp  measures 
from  north  to  south  550,  and  from  east  to  west  450,  feet.  The 
breadth  from  the  top  of  the  fourth  or  outer  ring  to  the  top 
of  the  third  ring  is  32  feet,  and  the  space  between  the  second 
and  third  ring  is  42  feet.  The  sunk  ditches,  which  are  best 
preserved  on  the  north  side,  are  about  12  feet  deep  in  their 
present  condition  ;  and  at  one  time,  when  the  walls  were  perfect, 
these  fosses  must  have  offered  considerable  impediments  to  an 
escalade.  The  detached  rampart  which  lies  on  the  slope  of  the 
hill  below  the  camp,  had  acted  as  a  formidable  barricade  at  that 

-  9-  —  Milkiston  Rings,  present  state. 

part,  where  an  enemy  would  be  expected  to  approach.  In  form, 
it  somewhat  resembled  a  strung  bow,  with  the  convex  side 
outermost,  and  consisting  of  a  wall  with  ditches,  it  compre- 
hended a  space  of  nearly  seven  acres.  At  its  western  extremity, 



the  rampart  was  flanked  by  a  natural  ravine,  which,  to  appear- 
ance, has  been  so  deepened  by  art,  as  to  render  the  camp  at  this 
quarter  almost  impregnable  to  any  force  likely  to  be  brought 
against  it. 

From  the  large  space  embraced  by  the  camp  in  its  several 
parts,  it  is  evident  that  a  numerous  body  of  defenders,  along 
with  their  wives,  families,  and  cattle,  had  been  accommodated  ; 
but  of  the  dwellings  which  they  occupied,  there  are  now  only 

Fig.  10. — Milkiston  Rings,  original  form. 

very  feeble  traces.  On  excavating  the  space  within  the  inner- 
most ring,  which  is  dotted  over  with  tumuli,  we  were  able  to  lay 
bare  the  imperfect  foundations  of  two  buildings  of  stone  without 
mortar,  each  measuring  about  32  feet  in  length.  Within  recollec- 
tion, many  stones  have  been  removed  to  form  the  dykes  which 
divide  the  adjoining  fields.  Viewing  this  camp  as  a  good  illus- 
tration of  the  larger  variety  of  British  forts,  we  offer  two  cuts, 
figs.  9  and  10,  to  shew  its  present  and  original  extent.  In 
fig.  9,  are  represented  the  several  concentric  rings,  with  the  inner 
space  where  the  foundations  have  been  discovered,  also  the  two 


entrances  as  clearly  as  they  can  be  traced.  Exteriorly,  on  the 
north,  is  seen  all  that  now  exists  of  the  great  rampart,  which,  by 
being  happily  within  a  plantation,  has  so  far  been  preserved  ;  the 
remainder,  extending  into  an  open  heath,  had,  at  the  time  of  our 
visit,  just  been  levelled  by  the  plough.  Fig.  10  represents,  in 
miniature,  the  whole  works,  rampart  included,  previous  to  their 
partial  demolition.1 

Access  to  the  interior  of  Tweeddale  by  the  Lyne  had  been 
well  guarded  by  a  group  of  forts  at  that  part,  near  the  church  of 
Newlands,  where  the  valley  narrows  to  an  easily  defensible 
gorge.  We  have  here,  on  the  west  side  of  the  Lyne  Water, 
Henderland-hill  Rings  and  Bordland  Rings,  with  two  forts  on 
Drochill  Hill  ;  while  on  the  east  side  are  Whiteside-hill  Rings, 
and  a  fort  of  a  lesser  kind  on  Pendreich  Hill  ;  this  last,  however, 
having  now  almost  disappeared.  Among  the  whole,  the  two 
most  worthy  of  notice  are  Henderland-hill  and  Whiteside-hill 
Rings,  for  these  had  been  the  great  guardians  of  the  pass,  and 
are  conspicuous  from  a  considerable  distance. 

Henderland  Hill,  consisting  of  a  pyramidal  knoll,  which  rises 
to  a  height  of  400  feet  above  the  bed  of  the  Lyne,  commands  so 
extensive  an  outlook  in  different  directions,  that  no  enemy  could 

Fig.  1 1. — Section  of  Henderland-hill  Rings. 

approach  it  unobserved.  The  camp  entirely  covers  the  rounded 
summit,  and  alike  from  the  steepness  of  the  hill,  and  the  nature 
of  the  defences,  it  must  have  defied  any  ordinary  attempt  at 
assault.  The  walls,  which  form  an  irregular  oval,  are  three  in 
number,  and  remain  in  a  better  state  of  preservation  than  is 
usual  with  works  of  a  similar  nature.  In  fig.  u,  we  offer  a 

1  Milkiston  Rings  arc  situated  on  the  farm  of  Milkiston,  the  proprietor  of  which,  Lord 
Elibanlc,  has  adopted  means  for  preserving  what  remains  of  this  very  interesting  camp. 


section  of  the  southern  extremity  of  the  oval,  where  the  measure- 
ments are — from  base  to  top  of  outer  wall,  19  feet ;  top  of  wall 
to  bottom  of  the  fosse,  25  feet  ;  breadth  of  bottom  of  the  fosse, 
1 1  feet ;  and  from  bottom  of  fosse  to  top  of  the  second  wall, 
27  feet.  The  third  ring  is  less  imposing.  According  to  the 
Ordnance  Survey,  the  length  of  the  entire  camp  is  320  feet,  by 
a  breadth,  at  widest,  of  220  feet ;  but  following  the  rises  and 
depressions  from  end  to  end,  we  found  a  measurement  of  445 
feet — a  fact  calculated  to  convey  an  impressive  idea  of  these 
gigantic  works.  Within  the  innermost  wall,  there  had  seemingly 
been  some  buildings  like  those  at  Milkiston  ;  and  it  cannot  be 
doubted  that  both  camps  are  of  the  same  era. 

On  a  lower  protuberance,  to  the  north-east,  amidst  a  planta- 
tion, is  the  minor  fort  known  as  Bordland  Rings,  and  on  the  hill 
which  stretches  between  Callands  House  and  the  old  castle  of 
Drochill,  are  the  two  forts  already  mentioned ;  they  are  of  the 
same  lesser  character,  and  now  considerably  damaged.  While 
such  were  the  camps  that  flanked  the  valley  of  the  Lyne  on  the 
west,  the  eastern  side  was  equally  well  watched  and  defended  by 
the  forts  on  Pendreich  and  Whiteside.  This  last,  occupying  the 
crest  of  a  hill,  had  nearly  equalled  Milkiston  Rings  in  point  of 
size  and  arrangement.  The  camp  consists  of  three  concentric 
walls  with  intervening  ditches,  and  measuring  over  all  the  length 
is  450  by  a  breadth  of  350  feet.  The  exterior  works  have 
suffered  considerable  injury,  but  we  are  still  able  to  trace  a 
portion  of  an  outer  rampart  or  enceinte  on  the  south.  In  the 
Ordnance  Survey  map,  the  Whiteside-hill  Fort  is  marked  as 
being  1200  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea.  It  is  reached  by  a 
mountain-path,  which  strikes  off  the  highway  near  the  manse  of 

The  western  section  of  the  county,  embracing  the  main  routes 
from  Clydesdale,  is  thickly  studded  with  ancient  forts,  the  larger 
and  more  important  of  which  are  seen  in  the  parishes  of  Brough- 
ton  and  Skirling.  Perhaps  the  largest  of  all  is  one  called  Lang- 
law-hill  Fort,  situated  on  a  high  ground  about  a  mile  north-west 
from  the  village  of  Broughton.  It  consists  of  five  rings,  the 


outermost  of  which  surrounds  the  others  at  a  distance  of  about 
250  feet,  and  measuring  across  the  circle  from  this  outer  barri- 
cade, the  entire  breadth  of  the  camp  is  fully  700  feet.  This  is 
not  one  of  the  best  preserved  British  forts  in  Peeblesshire,  but 
portions  of  the  rings  are  remarkably  entire ;  and  the  whole 
works,  along  with  the  position  occupied,  afford  a  good  study  in 
relation  to  early  historical  circumstances. 

The  most  imposing  of  the  forts  in  the  eastern  part  of  the 
county  is  that  which  crowns  the  summit  of  Caerlee  Hill,  a  low 

Fig.  12.— Caerlee-hill  Fort. 

shoulder  of  the  Lee  Pen,  possessing  a  commanding  outlook  in 
four  directions — northward  up  the  vale  of  Leithen  towards 
Mid- Lothian,  eastward  along  the  lower  section  of  the  Tweed, 
westward  in  the  direction  of  Peebles,  and  southward  up  the 
vale  of  the  Quair,  which  leads  to  Yarrow — and  a  better  spot 
in  this  quarter  could  not  have  been  selected  for  guarding 
against  the  approach  of  an  invading  force.  The  knoll  on  which 
the  camp  is  placed  towers  to  a  rocky  crest,  round  which 
are  visible  two  concentric  intrenchments,  both  unfortunately 


damaged  at  different  points  by  excavations  for  building-stone. 
The  camp  is  almost  circular,  measuring  400  by  350  feet 
across.  The  breadth  of  the  outer  mound  or  wall  is  18  feet 
by  a  height  in  some  places  of  5  feet ;  the  width  from 
the  outer  to  the  inner  ring  is  56  feet ;  and  the  height  of  the 
central  part  above  the  base  of  the  outer  ring  is  60  feet.  The 
preceding  cut  (fig.  12)  represents  the  present  appearance  of  the 
camp  ;  the  dotted  line  indicating  a  stone  wall  which  separates 
the  open  part  of  the  hill,  pertaining  to  the  family  of  Traquair, 
from  the  wooded  portion  connected  with  the  Glenormiston  pro- 
perty. The  foundations  of  no  buildings  can  be  traced  within  the 
camp,  but  some  bronze  ornaments,  already  referred  to,  were 
found  several  years  ago  in  digging  a  part  of  the  ring  on  the 
Glenormiston  side.  The  fort  is  supposed  to  have  communicated 
the  name,  Caerlee,  signifying  castle  on  the  Lee,  to  the  hill  on 
which  it  is  situated. 

On  the  opposite  side  of  the  Leithen,  as  a  twin  guardian  of  the 
pass,  is  Pirn-hill  Fort,  an  irregular  oval,  350  feet  long  by  200 
feet  broad,  consisting  of  one  well-defined  ring,  and  fragments  of 
two  others.  At  present,  it  is  wholly  under  plantation. 

From  Innerleithen  and  Traquair  in  the  east,  along  the  heights 
which  overlook  the  Tweed  and  its  tributaries  as  far  as  Tweeds- 
rnuir,  there  is  a  series  of  forts  noticed  in  the  preceding  list,  all 
seemingly  of  a  secondary  character  in  point  of  size  as  well  as  in 
method  of  construction,  and  therefore  probably  more  ancient  than 
those  which  are  assumed  to  have  been  established  as  barriers  to 
invasion  from  the  shores  of  the  Forth  and  Clyde.  Among  this 
miscellaneous  group,  only  two  or  three  may  be  particularised  as 
occupying  points  of  some  moment.  On  two  craggy  summits  of 
Cademuir  are  large  forts  of  an  irregularly  oval  form,  and  of 
simple  construction,  which,  commanding  a  view  of  the  Roman 
camp  at  Lyne,  may  perhaps  have  been  erected  as  places  of 
jealous  outlook  by  the  aborigines  as  early  as  the  first  century. 
Another  large  fort,  also  of  the  simpler  kind,  consisting  of  a 
single  oval  ring,  which  embraces  an  area  of  500  feet  in  length  by 
a  breadth  of  450  feet,  is  situated  on  Hamildean  Hill,  about  a 


mile  northward  from  the  Roman  camp,  and  to  it  may  be 
attributed  the  same  purpose  as  that  of  the  two  forts  on 

As  a  kind  of  central  stronghold,  there  is  a  somewhat  remark- 
able group  of  hill-forts  a  short  way  east  from  Peebles,  where  the 
vale  of  Soonhope  opens  on  the  Tweed.  The  more  prominent  of 
these  is  one  in  the  midst  of  a  plantation  on  the  summit  of  Janet's 
Brae,  whence  a  comprehensive  view  is  obtained  of  the  Tweed 
from  Kailzie  to  Neidpath,  and  of  the  stretch  of  country  south- 
ward to  Hundleshope.  Janet's  Brae  camp  had  been  one  of  the 
strongest  of  the  inferior  kind.  It  consisted  of  two'  rings,  nearly 
circular  in  form.  Unfortunately,  the  works  have  suffered  irrepar- 
able damage  on  the  south  side,  and  the  actual  dimensions  of  the 
fort  cannot  be  satisfactorily  stated.  As  nearly  as  we  can  judge, 
the  outer  wall  embraced  a  space  which  measures  325  by  275  feet 
across.  On  the  north,  where  the  intrenchments  are  most  complete, 
the  depth  of  the  fosse  between  the  two  walls  is  2 1  feet,  and  it 
extends  in  an  unbroken  line  400  feet.  The  surface  of  the  interior 
part  of  the  camp,  which  is  very  irregular,  with  a  slope  westward, 
is  dotted  with  tumuli,  suggestive  of  the  remains  of  buildings  ;  and 
at  the  centre  there  is  a  hollow,  now  choked  with  nettles,  that 
may  have  been  caused  by  old  excavations.  On  a  lower  pro- 
tuberance, which  we  pass  in  the  ascent,  there  are  the  remains  of 
a  fort  of  lesser  dimensions ;  and  the  remains  of  another  fort,  in 
better  preservation,  are  seen  on  an  adjoining  height  to  the 
north,  called  Cardie  Hill,  covered  by  Glentress  Forest. 

The  ridge  on  which  these  forts  had  been  placed  had  evidently 
been  a  favourite  spot  for  oppida  of  this  nature.  Northward,  on 
the  top  of  Kittlegairy  Hill,  overhanging  the  vale  of  Soonhope,  are 
seen  the  remains  of  a  camp  which  had  belonged  to  the  group. 
It  had  consisted  of  three  rings,  all  well  defined  on  the  east  or 
higher  side,  but  nearly  gone  on  the  north.  The  largest  stretch 
of  this  camp,  as  shewn  in  fig.  13,  is  from  north  to  south,  in 
which  direction  the  interior  measures  150  feet.  In  the  surviving 
mounds  there  are  more  than  the  usual  quantity  of  stones,  and 
the  foundations  of  buildings  are  discernible.  The  whole  of  the 



Janet's  Brae  group  of  forts  are  on  the  property  of  Sir  Adam 
Hay,  Bart. 

Fig-  13-  —  Kittlcgairy  Fort,  Soonhope. 

From  the  brief  description  now  given  of  the  Peeblesshire  hill- 
forts,  it  will  be  observed  that  they  do  not  differ  materially  from 
the  ancient  camps  elsewhere  in  the  south  of  Scotland,  as  far  as 
the  borders  of  Northumberland — all  seemingly  being  referrible 
to  an  early  period,  but  whether  in  every  instance  the  work  of  the 
aborigines  must  remain  doubtful ;  for  amidst  the  contentions  of 
natives  and  invaders,  forts  may  have  been  lost,  won,  and  altered  ; 
what  was  commenced  as  British,  may  have  ended  as  Anglian 
or  Scandinavian,  and  that  the  reverse  may  have  been  the  case 
is  equally  probable.  The  subject,  now  only  beginning  to  be 
awakened,  is  eminently  worthy  of  elucidation  on  a  scale  suffi- 
ciently comprehensive  to  bear  out  a  correct  and  intelligible 

In  connection  with  these  antiquities,  we  may  associate  those 
remarkable  earthen  terraces  covered  with  a  natural  sward,  which, 
seen  on  certain  hillsides  in  different  parts  of  Peeblesshire,  have 


caused  not  a  little  perplexity.  They  consist  of  a  flattish  stripe, 
of  varying  breadth,  from  which  rises  a  slope  at  an  easy  inclination 
to  a  similar  stripe  above,  and  so  on,  to  the  highest  in  the 
series.  The  height  of  the  intervening  slopes,  which  is  by  no 
means  uniform,  ordinarily  varies  from  ten  to  twenty  or  more 
feet.  These  terraces,  resembling  a  rude  and  gigantic  flight  of 
steps,  always  occur  on  the  face  of  steep  hills  with  a  fertile  soil, 
and  at  the  top,  or  no  great  distance  from  it,  there  is  usually  a 
British  fort,  or  a  building  of  more  modern  date.  By  the  country- 
people,  these  terraces  are  called  deases,  from  their  resemblance 
to  grassy  seats. 

One  of  the  more  remarkable  groups  is  that  at  Purvis  Hill, 

Fig.  14. — Purvis-hill  Terraces. 

about  a  mile  eastward  from  Innerleithen.  With  a  southern 
exposure  overlooking  the  Tweed,  they  commence  on  the  lower 
part  of  the  hill,  immediately  above  the  alluvial  haugh,  and  thence 
rise  to  a  height  of  450  feet.  Altogether,  the  terraces  may  have 
been  twelve  to  fourteen  in  number,  but  they  have  suffered  from 
the  excavations  for  the  post-road,  which  pursues  the  line  of  one 


of  them,  and  has  obliterated  part  of  another.  They  rise  at  first 
with  some  regularity,  but  afterwards  become  irregular,  both  as 
regards  extent  and  the  direction  in  which  they  lie.  While  the 
lower  in  the  series  stretch  at  right  angles  with  the  steep  of  the 
hill,  the  higher  ones  slope  upwards  somewhat  in  accommodation 
to  the  nature  of  the  ground.  The  terraces  are  on  a  larger  scale 
than  ordinary,  for  they  vary  from  48  to  130  feet  in  breadth,  and 
we  found  the  second  in  the  ascent  to  measure  960  feet  in  length. 
The  intervening  slopes,  which  are  about  14  feet  in  depth,  have 
at  some  period  been  planted  with  ashes,  which  now,  being  well 
grown,  impart  that  effect,  in  looking  upwards  from  the  public 
road,  which  is  seen  in  the  winter  sketch  offered  in  fig.  14. 
Surmounting  the  terraces,  on  a  conspicuous  part  of  the  hill, 
stood  the  old  feudal  tower  of  Purvis  Hill,  now  a  heap  of  ruins. 

A  group  of  terraces,  quite  as  interesting,  though  less  pictu- 
resque, is  that  on  the  face  of  a  hill  in  the  parish  of  Newlands,  on 
the  farm  of  Noblehall,  once  belonging  to  Romanno,  and  now 
included  in  the  estate  of  Spitalhaugh.  Here  are  reckoned 
fourteen  terraces,  one  above  another,  varying  from  6  to  12  feet 
in  breadth.  Although  the  hill  seems  too  steep  for  the  plough, 
it  has  been  brought  gradually  into  culture,  and  on  this  account, 
a  portion  of  the  terraces  has  been  unfortunately  destroyed. 
Gordon,  in  his  Itinerarium  Septentrionale,  early  in  the  last 
century,  speaks  of  these  terraces  extending  '  for  a  whole  mile, 
not  unlike  a  large  amphitheatre.'  In  the  present  day,  they  are 
much  less  in  extent.  Their  arrangement  and  their  now  muti- 
lated appearance  will  be  understood  from  the  following  sketch, 
fig.  15.  As  so  represented,  the  group  measures  500  feet  in 
length  by  250  in  depth  from  top  to  bottom.  As  the  hill 

bends  outwards,  the  terraces  follow  the  natural  curve,  and  are 


by  no  means  regular  in  their  distances  from  each  other,  or  in 
keeping  distinctly  separate.  Some  are  double  the  dimensions 
of  the  rest,  and  several  run  into  each  other.  At  the  summit 
of  the  bank,  though  not  immediately  over  the  terraces,  is  the 
site  of  Pendreich-hill  fort.  Dr  Pennicuik  makes  the  following 
remarks  on  these  terraces,  after  speaking  of  the  church  of 


Newlands :  *  Above  this,  upon  the  side  of  a  pleasant  green  hill 
in  Romanno  ground,  are  to  be  seen  eleven  or  twelve  large  and 
orderly  Terrace  Walks,  which  in  their  summer  verdure  cast  a 
bonny  dash  at  a  distance :  And  this  I  take  not  to  be  natural, 
but  a  work  of  art  ;  because  upon  the  top  of  the  hill  there  is  a 
little  round  Fortification  of  earth  and  stone,  with  a  ditch  about 
it,  as  if  it  had  been  some  Roman  Garrison,  and  these  Terraces 
cut  out  to  keep  off  the  horse  ;  the  like  being  to  be  seen  on  the 
top  of  several  hills  in  Tweeddale.'  Armstrong  says  of  the 

Fig.  15. — Romanno  Terraces. 

terraces  that  they  rise  with  '  a  regular  gradation  to  the  top ;  from 
fifteen  to  twenty  feet  each  ;  and  which  Gordon  believes  Roman  ; 
though  the  country-people  call  it  Pictish  :  The  circular  intrench- 


ment  on  the  Hill  would  indicate  the  whole  to  be  British,  as  there 
are  similar  fences  on  the  sides  of  several  hills,  called  the  Red 
Riggs,  near  Wooler  in  Northumberland,  where  the  battle  of 
Homildown,  1492,  was  fought."  George  Chalmers  attempts  an 

1  Armstrong's  Companion  to  the  Map  of  Tweeddale,  p.  74. 


explanation  of  these  ancient  terraces,  by  saying  they   '  were 
undoubtedly  intended  for  various  sports.'1 

On  the  face  of  the  steep  hill  called  Roger's  Crag,  at  Halmyre  ; 
on  the  hill  known  as  Torwood,  near  Kailzie  ;  on  the  hill  below 
Venlaw  House  ;  also  at  Kilbucho  and  some  other  parts  of  the 
county,  there  are  similar  terraces,  though  inferior  in  point  of 
extent.  All  have  but  one  character,  however  much  they  differ  in 
number  or  dimensions.  It  does  not  appear  to  us  that  they  can 
be  attributed  to  the  action  of  either  glaciers  or  water,  and  all  the 
ordinary  speculations  respecting  them  seem  equally  untenable. 
There  would  seem  to  be  but  one  reasonable  solution  respecting 
the  origin  of  these  terraces,  and  that  is,  that  they  were  designed 
for  horticultural  or  agricultural  operations.  This  opinion  is 
sustained  by  what  is  seen  in  the  way  of  terrace-husbandry  in 
many  parts  of  the  world,  and  there  are  good  reasons  for  believing 
that  the  practice  of  laying  out  steep  but  fertile  hillsides  in 
the  same  manner  prevailed  in  Scotland  at  a  time  when  the  low 
grounds  were  either  marshy  or  covered  by  forests.  On  the  face 
of  the  hill,  Arthur's  Seat,  near  Duddingston,  is  seen  a  group  of 
terraces  of  precisely  the  same  character  as  those  we  have 
described,  and  that  they  are  artificial  is  placed  beyond  a  doubt 
by  the  fact  of  their  being  in  some  cases  sustained  by  a  rude 
species  of  masonry.  The  question  as  to  the  antiquity  of  the 
Peeblesshire  terraces  generally  is  not  so  easily  answered.  They 
have  probably  existed  from  an  early  British  period  ;  but  it  is  not 
less  likely  that  they  were  kept  in  use  until  much  later  times,  and 
became  appendages  of  feudal  keeps. 

While  neither  forts  nor  terraces,  nor,  indeed,  any  tokens  of  the 
early  inhabitants  survive  in  the  town  of  Peebles,  the  name 
sufficiently  indicates  its  antiquity.  Occupying  a  dry  and  fertile 
spot  in  a  bosom  of  environing  hills,  and  favoured  by  an  abundant 
supply  of  water  from  the  Tweed  and  the  Eddleston,  a  town 
sprung  up,  the  centre  of  a  thinly  scattered  population,  and  became 
a  defensible  post  during  the  contests  between  the  Strathclyde 

1  Caledonia^  vol.  i.,  p.  468. 


Britons  and  the  Anglo-Saxons.  About  547,  this  last-named 
people  are  reputed  to  have  subdued  the  whole  country  lying 
between  the  Tyne  and  the  Forth,  and  constituted  it  the  kingdom 
of  Northumbria  ;  but  though  Tweeddale  was  included  within  this 
dominion,  there  is  reason  to  suppose  that  the  Scoto-Irish  may 
have  settled  and  given  names  to  places  in  the  district  not  long 
after  this  early  period. 

It  has  been  thought  that  to  the  Scots,  who  had  come  from 
Ireland,  and  after  having  colonised  the  coast  of  Argyle,  spread 
themselves  over  the  country,  Peeblesshire  is  indebted  for  the  first 
knowledge  of  Christianity.  But  it  is  as  reasonably  conjectured 
that  through  the  preaching  of  St  Ninian,  about  the  begin- 
ning of  the  fifth  century,  the  Britons  of  Strathclyde,  those 
of  Tweeddale  included,  were  reclaimed  from  heathenism  to 
the  light  of  the  gospel.  During  the  sixth  century,  notwith- 
standing civil  commotions,  there  appears  to  have  been  a 
combined  missionary  system  in  the  district.  Columba,  with 
his  associate  monks,  crossed  from  Ireland  to  lona  in  565,  and 
favoured  by  his  countrymen  who  preceded  him,  he  was  able 
to  assist  in  the  good  work  promoted  about  this  period  by 
Kentigern,  of  the  Strathclyde  British  race,  who  is  remembered 
under  his  more  familiar  designation  of  St  Mungo,  and  was  a 
contemporary  of  the  British  seer,  Merlin  the  Wild,  to  whom 
Peeblesshire  has  the  honour  of  having  given  a  grave.  Assigning 
to  Ninian — better  known  as  St  Ringan — the  credit  of  introducing 
Christianity  to  a  hitherto  benighted  region,  we  are  perhaps 
entitled  to  assume  that  St  Mungo  was  scarcely  less  meritorious 
in  giving  that  degree  of  consistency  to  the  missionary  labours 
of  his  time,  which  afterwards  assumed  the  definite  form  of 
parochial  and  other  ecclesiastical  divisions.  We  cannot  tell 
whether  this  spiritual  magnate  ever  visited  Peebles,  but  his  name 
was  long  commemorated  by  a  public  fountain,  known  as  St 
Mungo's  Well.1 

1  Kentigern,  bishop  of  Glasgow,  and  contemporary  of  Columba,  enjoys  the  repu- 
tation of  having  christianised  the  west  and  south-east  of  Scotland.  Recommended 
by  his  knowledge,  diligence,  and  piety,  he  became  known  as  St  Mungo,  or  'the 



While  during  the  sixth  and  seventh  centuries,  an  ecclesiastical 
system  was  getting  into  shape  in  Peeblesshire,  the  Scoto-Irish 
from  the  west  continued  their  distracting  contentions  for  perma- 
nent possession  of  the  country,  and  with  such  varying  success, 
that  numbers  made  good  their  settlement  among  the  original 
British  people.  It  must  have  been  a  happy  event  for  the 
inhabitants  of  whatever  origin,  when  Eadulf,  in  1018,  ceded 
Northumbria  to  Malcolm  II.,  by  which  means  Peeblesshire 
was  at  length  incorporated  with  the  kingdom  of  Scotland,  and 
enabled  to  participate  in  measures  of  general  improvement. 

Beloved,'  by  which  appellation  he  is  alone  remembered.  This  eminent  ecclesiastic 
died  in  601.  The  arms  of  the  city  of  Glasgow,  adopted  from  the  seals  of  the  bishops, 
still  commemorate  the  miracles  which,  according  to  legend,  St  Kentigem  was  believed 
to  have  wrought — the  bird  representing  a  robin  which  he  restored  to  life  ;  the  tree,  a 
frozen  bough  of  hazel  which  he  kindled  into  flame  ;  the  salmon  and  ring,  the  recovery 
in  a  fish's  mouth  of  the  lost  ring  of  the  Queen  of  Caidyow ;  and  the  bell,  that  which 
belonged  to  him,  and  was  invested  with  certain  miraculous  powers.  The  motto  now 
in  use,  '  Let  Glasgow  Flourish,'  cannot  be  traced  to  a  remote  period.  The  following 
is  a  representation  of  the  seal  of  Archbishop  Cairncross,  1684-7. 


THE  absorption  of  Peeblesshire  into  the  kingdom  of  Scot- 
land  at   the   commencement   of    the    eleventh    century, 
enabled  it,  as  has  been  said,  to  participate  in  measures  for 
the  improvement  of  the  country.     The  most  remarkable  of  these 
measures,  for  it  facilitated  every  other,  was  the  introduction  of 
feudal  usages,  along  with  the  hospitable  reception  of  large  bodies 
of  Anglo-Saxon  and  Anglo-Norman  immigrants  of  a  superior 

Before  Malcolm  Canmore  ascended  the  throne,  numbers  of 
Anglo-Danes,  in  consequence  of  the  fall  of  their  power  in 
England,  emigrated  to  Scotland,  to  which  they  introduced  a 
knowledge  of  various  useful  arts,  as  well  as  numerous  Scan- 
dinavian words,  which  are  perpetuated  in  the  vernacular  of  the 
Lowland  Scotch  and  also  in  names  of  places.  But  the  subse- 
quent immigrations  of  Anglo-Saxons — needy,  accomplished,  and 
ambitious — were  greatly  more  imposing.  During  the  reign  of 
Malcolm,  large  numbers  of  them  arrived  in  consequence  of  the 
Norman  Conquest  of  England,  1066 ;  for  Margaret,  a  sister  of 
the  refugee  Edgar  Atheling,  who  was  married  to  Malcolm, 
brought  a  numerous  body  of  English  knights  in  her  train.  In 
the  successive  reigns  of  Malcolm's  two  elder  sons,  Edgar  and 
Alexander  I.,  this  hospitable  reception  of  strangers  of  distinction 
continued,  and  in  the  reign  of  his  third  son,  David  I.,  1124 — 1153, 
it  exceeded  all  previous  example.  David's  connection  with  the 


Norman  reigning  family  in  England  greatly  promoted  this 
Anglicising  process,  which  was  further  aided  by  the  cession 
made  of  certain  portions  of  the  north  of  England  by  Stephen. 

Through  Margaret,  his  mother — the  St  Margaret  of  Scottish 
history — David  was  by  blood  half  an  Englishman,  and  he  was 
wholly  educated  as  one  at  the  Anglo-Norman  court.  Returning 
to  Scotland,  he  was  in  one  aspect  an  English  baron,  the  husband 
of  an  English  countess,  and  from  these  circumstances,  as  well  as 
the  benevolence  of  his  character,  disposed  to  assimilate  his 
kingdom  as  far  as  possible  to  that  of  England.  It  is  said  that 
he  was  accompanied  into  Scotland  with  a  thousand  Anglo- 
Normans,  and  that  these  were  followed  by  many  more — the 
material  out  of  which,  through  feudal  investiture,  were  to  be 
created  a  Scottish  baronage  and  landed  proprietary.  As  may  be 
supposed,  the  native  chiefs  did  not  look  without  jealousy  on  this 
extraordinary  incursion  of  foreigners,  but  except  in  the  north, 
where  there  was  much  trouble  on  this  account,  David  had  the 
tact  to  conciliate  his  original  subjects,  by  investing  them  with 
chartered  rights  to  certain  lands  in  the  sense  of  '  property,' 
in  place  of  the  ill-defined  claims  on  which  they  had  hitherto 
founded  possession. 

Other  circumstances  helped  to  modernise  and  improve  Scot- 
land at  this  period.  In  1155,  Henry  II.  expelled  all  foreigners 
from  his  dominions,  whereupon  large  numbers  of  Flemings, 
acquainted  with  trade,  fisheries,  navigation,  and  handicraft, 
flocked  to  Scotland,  and  there  became  convenient  instruments 
of  civilisation.  According  to  Tytler,1  who  does  not  give  his 
authority,  some  of  these  industrious  Flemings  settled  in  Peebles ; 
and  if  such  was  the  case,  as  is  not  improbable,  to  them  might 
perhaps  be  traced  the  introduction  of  those  woollen  manufac- 
tures which  have  long  been  conducted  on  a  humble  but  useful 
scale  in  the  place. 

The  creation  of  burghs,  and  the  rearing  up  of  independent 
trading  communities,  formed  part  of  the  civilising  process 

1  History  of  Scotland >  vol.  iL,  p.  286.     Edition,  1829. 


promoted  by  the  wise  policy  of  David  I. ;  and  we  are  to  believe 
that  his  aims  in  this  respect,  as  were  those  of  his  predecessors, 
must  have  been  assisted  by  the  great  numbers  of  English  who  had 
from  time  to  time  been  captured  as  prisoners  in  the  international 
wars,  and  distributed  throughout  the  country.  For  shelter  from 
the  hatred  of  the  aborigines,  these  unfortunate  English  captives 
sought  refuge  in  the  towns  and  royal  castles,  from  which  circum- 
stance it  has  been  said  that,  before  the  conclusion  of  the  twelfth 
century,  the  Scottish  burghs,  those  in  the  south  especially,  were 
inhabited  chiefly  by  English  or  their  descendants.  We  are 
unable  to  ascertain  the  extent  to  which  Peebles  received  this 
Anglo-Saxon  and  Anglo-Norman  infusion,  but  looking  to  its 
situation,  and  the  names  of  the  persons  who  appear  in  the  lists 
of  inhabitants  in  the  thirteenth  century,  there  is  reason  to 
conclude  that  it  largely  participated  in  the  general  colonisation. 

Viewing  these  various  circumstances,  and  fixing  attention 
on  the  central  part  of  the  twelfth  century,  we  see,  as  in 
a  dissolving-view,  Celtic  Scotland  with  its  primitive  illiterate 
people  fading  and  vanishing  away,  and  in  its  place  arising 
Anglicised  Scotland,  with  its  titled  barons,  feudal  castles  and 
usages,  its  expanded  civil  and  ecclesiastical  polity,  its  great 
monasteries  and  cathedrals,  and  its  cities  and  towns,  with  their 
groups  of  free  burgesses  and  incorporated  guilds.  It  was  at 
this  period  that  the  banks  of  the  river,  and  the  lesser  vales 
throughout  the  county  of  Peebles,  began  to  be  studded  with 
those  castles  of  stone  and  lime  of  which  the  remains  are  still 
to  be  seen,  and  it  is  at  this  eventful  period,  also,  we  first  hear  of 
charters  to  property,  of  regular  laws,  of  courts  of  justice,  of 
collegiate  and  parish  churches,  or  of  any  other  token  of  an 
advanced  community. 

Enriched,  privileged,  and  protected,  the  church  of  Rome,  as 
elevated  by  David  above  the  meagre  footing  on  which  it  had 
hitherto  been  placed  in  Scotland,  is  understood  to  have 
contributed  in  no  small  degree  to  the  general  amelioration.  The 
cathedrals  and  monasteries,  by  drawing  towards  them  an 
accomplished  body  of  clergy,  became  centres  of  learning,  whence 


radiated  a  knowledge  of  the  English  tongue  into  every  district. 
The  records  of  the  principal  bishoprics  and  abbeys,  still  pre- 
served, form  an  invaluable  fountain  of  knowledge  respecting 
this  early  period  of  Scottish  history ;  and  to  the  Cartulary  of 
Glasgow  and  Chronicle  of  Melrose,  in  particular,  are  we  indebted 
for  facts  concerning  lands  and  families  in  Peeblesshire  which 
would  otherwise  have  been  forgotten. 

According  to  tradition,  David  was  fond  of  lingering  on  the 
banks  of  the  Tweed.  He  often  resided  at  the  castle  of  Rox- 
burgh, in  the  midst  of  scenery  which  he  adorned  with  the  abbeys 
of  Melrose,  Jedburgh,  and  Kelso,  and  which  had  already, 
through  the  piety  of  the  Constable  Morville,  been  enriched  with 
the  impressive  architecture  of  Dryburgh.  In  the  upper  vale  of 
the  Tweed,  there  was  less  amenity  of  landscape,  but  the  air  was 
salubrious,  the  hills  and  forests  formed  favourite  hunting-grounds, 
and  for  the  accommodation  of  the  court,  there  were  the  royal 
castles  of  Peebles  and  Traquair.  Neither  of  these  edifices  could 
have  been  very  extensive,  yet  they  were  visited  by  several  kings 
in  succession,  and  from  them  state  papers  were  dated.  The 
advantageous  situation  of  the  castle  of  Peebles,  placed  on  the 
defensible  extremity  of  a  peninsula  at  the  confluence  of  the 
Eddleston  Water  with  the  Tweed,  along  with  other  circumstances, 
caused  it  to  be  preferred  as  a  resort  by  princely  personages.  It 
was  visited  by  David  L,  by  his  son  the  Earl  Henry,  Malcolm  IV., 
William  the  Lion,  Alexander  II.,  and  we  venture  to  add 
Alexander  III.,  whose  munificence  towards  Peebles  will  require 
immediate  notice. 

Besides  confirming  previous  grants,  David  I.  endowed  Peebles 
with  gifts  of  lands  and  privileges  adequate  to  its  support. 
From  this  time,  therefore,  the  town  glides  into  historical  notice, 
and  so  likewise  does  the  sherifTdom  or  county.  Justiciary- 
courts  were  held  at  Peebles  as  early  as  the  reign  of  William  the 
Lion,  1165 — 1214;  and  previous  to  the  death  of  Alexander  III., 
1286,  Tweeddale  had  two  sheriffs,  one  at  Peebles,  the  other  at 
Traquair — the  two  being  merged  in  one  about  1304,  during  the 
occupancy  of  Edward  I. 


At  the  distance  of  two  miles  south  from  Peebles,  within  the 
bosom  of  the  Newby  Hills,  lies  Walthamshope,  the  name  of 
which  has  been  corrupted  into  Waddinshope.  Here,  formerly, 
the  burgesses  of  Peebles  owned  a  right  of  common  with  the 
privilege  of  digging  peats,  which  in  1262  became  the  subject  of 
dispute  with  Robert  Cruik — possibly  a  descendant  of  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  settler  who  imparted  his  name  to  Crookston.  As  seen 
by  the  Acts  of  the  Scots  Parliament,1  this  dispute  was  of  suffi- 
cient importance  to  call  for  a  precept  of  inquiry  from  Alex- 
ander III.,  and  was  finally  determined  in  favour  of  the  burgesses. 
Of  no  general  interest,  the  case  is  curious  from  the  names  of  the 
persons  composing  the  jury — Archibald  of  Hopkeiloc,  Alexander 
of  Wynkistun,  Richard  Fermer,  Clement  of  Hopkeiloc,  Roger  of 
Kedistun,  Michael  of  Kedistun,  Roger  Gardener,  Archibald  of 
Hundwaluchishope,  Adam  of  Stobhou,  Thomas  Smith,  Richard 
the  son  of  Godard,  Gauri  Pluchan,  William  Shepherd,  Walter 
Shepherd,  John  Modi,  Robert  Gladhoc,  Cokin  Smith,  and  Adam 
Hacsmall.  Such  is  the  earliest  record  of  names  connected  with 

Tweeddale  can  boast  of  no  ecclesiastical  structures  comparable 
to  the  abbeys  in  the  lower  and  more  fertile  part  of  the  valley ; 
but  neither  was  it  devoid  of  buildings  which  attested  the  piety 
and  munificence  of  the  Scottish  sovereigns  and  prelates  from  the 
twelfth  till  the  fourteenth  century.  Perhaps  through  its  early 
connection  with  the  kingdom  of  Strathclyde,  the  vale  of  Tweed 
was  included  in  the  diocese  of  Glasgow,  in  which  it  was  embraced 
until  the  abolition  of  the  episcopal  system  at  the  Revolution. 

By  David  I.,  while  still  only  Prince  of  Cumbria,  the  see  of 
Glasgow  was  re-invigorated  and  re-endowed,  1116;  and  shortly 
after  this  period,  the  diocese,  for  the  sake  of  local  supervision, 
was  divided  into  rural  deaneries,  each  comprehending  a  group  of 
parishes.  By  this  arrangement,  Peebles  became  a  deanery  in  the 
archdeaconry  of  Teviotdale,  with  a  resident  dean,  the  immediate 
superior  of  the  ministering  clergy  within  his  jurisdiction.  On 

1  Appendix  to  Preface,  vol.  i.     Large  edition. 


consulting  the  laborious  and  valuable  work  of  Mr  Cosmo  Innes, 
Origines  Parochiales  Scotice,  it  will  be  seen  that  the  deanery  of 
Peebles  corresponded  with  the  cluster  of  parishes  composing  the 
county,  with  the  addition  of  the  parish  of  Yarrow,  in  which  were 
comprehended  several  churches  and  chapels,  one  of  them  being 
St  Mary's  Kirk,  renowned  in  the  ballad  and  song  poetry  of 

Vitalised  by  gifts  from  David  I.,  the  ecclesiastical  system 
within  the  deanery  received  a  considerable  accession  by  the 
founding  of  the  parish  church  of  Peebles,  dedicated  to  St 
Andrew,  on  the  site,  as  is  believed,  of  a  more  ancient  building. 
This  event,  which  occurred  in  1195,  under  the  auspices  of  Bishop 
Joceline  of  Glasgow,1  was  followed  by  the  enlarged  endowment  of 
a  chapel  dedicated  to  the  Virgin  Mary,  adjoining  the  castle  of 
Peebles  ;  also  of  a  chapel  of  a  similar  kind  at  Chapel-hill,  in  the 
neighbourhood.  A  religious  house,  called  the  Hospital  of  St 
Leonards,  was  placed  two  miles  to  the  east  of  Peebles,  at  a 
place  formerly  called  Chapel  Yards,  near  to  the  height  on 
which  stands  Horsburgh  Castle ;  and  to  complete  the  series 
of  ecclesiastical  structures  within  a  narrow  compass,  the  church 
and  monastery  of  the  Holy  Cross  were  founded  and  endowed  by 
Alexander  III. 

Of  the  foundation  of  this  the  greatest  ecclesiastical  establish- 
ment in  Peeblesshire,  several  accounts  are  given,  and  of  these,  as 
most  trustworthy,  we  select  that  of  Fordoun.2  '  Upon  the  9th 
of  May  1261,  in  the  thirteenth  year  of  the  reign  of  King  Alex- 
ander, a  magnificent  and  venerable  cross  was  found  at  Peblis, 

1  Joceline  appears  to  have  succeeded  Ingleram  as  abbot  of  Melrose,  1 1 74  ;  about 
the  same  time  he  became  bishop  of  Glasgow,  and  built  the  noble  crypt  of  its  cathedral 
between  1181  and  1197.  After  a  long  life  of  ecclesiastical  usefulness  and  munificence 
in  founding  churches,  he  died  at  Melrose,  1199.  See  Keith's  Catalogue  of  Scottish 

*  John  of  Fordoun,  who  died  about  1386,  is  the  father  of  Scottish  history.  His 
work,  which  commences  with  an  account  of  the  world  since  the  creation,  comes  down 
to  the  reign  of  David  I.  ;  but  it  was  subsequently  continued  by  Bower,  abbot  of 
Inchcolm,  till  the  death  of  James  I.,  1437.  A  complete  edition  of  this  great 
historical  work  (which  is  in  Latin),  entitled  the  Scotichronicon,  was  published  in 
2  vols.  folio,  at  Edinburgh,  1759. 


in  presence  of  various  honest  men,  churchmen,  ministers,  and 
burgesses.  But  in  what  year,  or  by  whom,  the  cross  was 
deposited  here,  is  unknown  ;  though  it  is  supposed  to  have  been 
buried  by  certain  of  the  faithful,  at  the  time  of  Maximian's 
persecution  in  Britain,  about  the  year  296.  Shortly  afterwards, 
there  was  found,  about  three  or  four  paces  distant  from  the  spot 
where  the  glorious  cross  was  discovered,  an  urn  of  stone,  contain- 
ing the  ashes  and  bones  of  a  human  body,  which  seemed  to  have 
been  cut  in  small  pieces.  Whose  reliques  these  were,  no  one  yet 
knows.  They  are,  however,  thought  by  some  to  be  the  remains 
of  the  person  whose  name  was  inscribed  on  the  stone  near  which 
the  cross  lay  ;  for  on  the  upper  side  of  that  stone  was  engraven  : 
where  the  cross  had  been  found,  frequent  miracles  were  and 
continue  to  be  wrought,  and  multitudes  of  people  flocked  thither, 
and  still  devoutly  flock,  making  their  oblations  and  vows  to  God. 
On  which  account,  the  king,  by  the  advice  of  the  bishop  of 
Glasgow,  caused  a  stately  church  to  be  erected  there,  in  honour 
of  God  and  the  Holy  Rood.'  Alexander  III.  entered  devoutly 
into  the  undertaking.  A  church  with  conventual  buildings, 
containing  seventy  Red  or  Trinity  Friars,  was  founded  and 
liberally  endowed  with  land  in  the  neighbourhood  and  else- 
where.1 The  shattered  remains  of  the  Cross  Church,  or,  as  it 
was  sometimes  called,  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Rude  of  Peebles, 
will  come  under  notice  in  our  description  of  the  town  ;  mean- 
while, it  is  sufficient  to  say  that,  augmented  by  this  establish- 
ment, to  which  devout  pilgrims  were  attracted  from  far  and 
wide,  the  ecclesiastical  society  of  Peebles,  towards  the  end  of 
the  thirteenth  century,  must  have  been  of  a  very  imposing  kind. 

1  The  privileges  of  the  Red  or  Trinity  Friars  were  confirmed  by  Pope  Innocent  IV., 
1246.  Their  houses  were  named  hospitals  or  ministries,  and  their  superiors  ministers 
(Afittistri).  Their  substance  or  rents  were  divided  into  three  parts,  one  of  which  was 
reserved  for  redeeming  Christian  slaves  from  amongst  the  infidels.  '  Tertia  vero  pars,' 
say  their  constitutions,  '  reservatur  ad  redemptionem  captivorum,  qui  sunt  incarcerati 
pro  fide  Christi  a  paganis. '  Their  habit  was  white,  with  a  red  and  blue  cross  patee 
upon  their  scapular.  Their  general  chapter  was  held  yearly  at  Whitsunday,  '  in 
octavis  Penticostes.'  At  the  Reformation,  there  were  thirteen  establishments  of  Red 
or  Trinity  Friars  in  Scotland.  See  Keith's  Catalogue  of  Scottish  Bishops. 


The  abbey  of  Aberbrothock,  as  is  seen  by  its  charter-book, 
possessed  some  property  in  Peebles,  including  a  hostilagium  for 
the  temporary  residence  of  persons  connected  with  that  monastic 
establishment.  The  following  is  a  translation  of  the  charter  on 
the  subject : 

'  Be  it  known  to  all  faithful  Christian  men,  wherever  the  present  writing 
shall  be  seen  or  heard,  that  we,  Brother  Bernard,  by  divine  permission 
Abbot  of  Aberbrothoc  and  the  convent  in  that  place,  and  of  express  con- 
sent of  our  whole  chapter,  have  given,  granted,  and  by  our  present  charter 
have  confirmed,  to  William  called  Maceon,  burgess  of  Peebles,  and  his 
heirs,  our  whole  land  that  we  have  in  the  town  of  Peebles,  lying  between 
the  land  of  John  of  the  Lake,  on  the  south,  on  the  one  part,  and  the 
land  of  John  Williamson,  on  the  north,  on  the  other  part,  that  Laurence  de 
Wedayl  held  of  us,  and  that  the  same  Laurence  before,  in  worthy  faith, 
by  stick  and  staff,  rendered  up  to  us,  and  all  right  and  claim  that  he  had 
in  the  said  land,  or  in  any  manner  might  have,  for  himself  and  his  heirs 
resigning  it  entirely  for  ever ;  to  hold  and  have  the  said  William  and  his 
heirs  in  free  burgage  of  us  and  our  successors,  with  all  its  advantages, 
easements,  and  just  pertinents :  Saving  to  us  and  our  successors  the 
right  to  hold  our  Court  of  Regality  and  other  sentences  on  the  said  land, 
when  we  wish  to  hold  them;  the  said  William  and  his  heirs  paying 
henceforth  to  us  and  our  successors  two  silver  shillings  yearly  at  the 
feast  of  the  Holy  Trinity,  and  finding  honest  lodging,  each  according  to 
his  degree,  with  his  own  family,  for  the  Abbot  of  Aberbrothoc  for  the 
time,  and  his  monks,  novices,  and  clerks,  bailiffs,  and  attorneys  coming 
on  the  business  and  cause  of  the  monastery,  as  often  as  they  arrive ;  a 
hall,  with  a  table,  trestles,  and  other  furniture,  where  they  can  becom- 
ingly eat ;  a  spence  with  a  buttery,  one  or  more  sleeping-chambers,  a 
decent  kitchen,  and  a  stable  for  their  horses ;  also,  on  the  coming  of  the 
foresaid  persons,  to  find  sufficient  fuel,  as  well  in  the  hall  and  the 
chamber  as  in  the  kitchen ;  white  candles  of  tallow,  commonly  called 
Paris  candles ;  straw  or  rushes  for  the  hall  and  chamber ;  and  salt  for 
the  table  :  Moreover,  when  the  messengers  or  runners  of  the  abbey  shall 
come  to  the  dwelling,  they  are  to  be  admitted  without  gainsaying,  and 
the  same  William  and  his  heirs  are  not  to  detain  them,  but  to  be  at  cost, 
nevertheless,  for  their  food :  Also,  the  said  William  or  his  heirs  shall,  in 
no  manner,  sell,  mortgage,  or  alienate  the  foresaid  land  and  hostilagium, 
or  give  them  up  to  any  other  person,  unless  with  consent  of  the  said 
abbot  and  convent  for  the  time  being :  In  testimony  whereof,  the 
common  seal  of  our  chapter,  with  one  consent,  we  have  caused  to  be  put 
to  the  present  charter.  Witnesses,  the  same  chapter.  In  the  year  1317.'' 

1  Registrant  Vetus  de  Aberbrothoc  (Bannatyne  Club  Book),  p.  300. 



Improvements  in  the  country  parts  of  Tweeddale  during  the 
thirteenth  century  kept  pace  with  those  in  the  burgh.  Mills, 
malt-kilns,  and  brew-houses  were  established  ;  horticulture, 
through  the  knowledge  of  the  foreign  educated  clergy,  made 
considerable  progress  ;  the  comforts  and  tastes  of  the  people 
were  advanced  ;  and  with  settled  peace,  the  powers  of  rural 
production,  as  well  as  of  trade,  were  largely  increased.  In 
Peeblesshire,  as  in  other  counties,  it  cannot  escape  notice  that 
the  art  of  building  must  have  arrived  at  a  high  degree  of 
perfection  between  the  reigns  of  David  I.  and  Alexander  III. 
The  hard  and  somewhat  intractable  whinstone  dug  from 
the  hills  in  the  upper  region  of  the  Tweed,  admits  of  little 
elegance  in  architecture  ;  but  we  see  that  with  this  material, 
and  lime  brought  from  the  borders  of  Mid-Lothian,  castles  and 
churches  were  reared  of  great  strength  and  durability. — We  give, 
beneath,  a  representation  of  two  friars,  of  the  class  attached  to 
the  Cross  Church  of  Peebles. 


WITH  the  twelfth  century — the  great  transition  century 
in  Scotland — the  settlement  of  distinct  races  terminated 
in  Peeblesshire.  To  the  original  British  people  there  had, 
in  course  of  time,  been  added,  by  conquest  or  peaceful  colonisa- 
tion, Angles  from  the  shores  of  the  Firth  of  Forth,  Picts  who  had 
burst  through  the  wall  of  Antoninus,  Scots  of  Irish  descent  from 
Argyle,  immigrants  of  Anglo-Danish  lineage,  Anglo-Saxon  and 
Anglo-Norman  chiefs  introduced  as  feudatories  of  the  crown, 
and,  last  of  all,  as  is  believed,  Flemings  expelled  by  an  injudi- 
cious policy  from  England.  Such  was  the  heterogeneous  mixture 
of  inhabitants  in  this  small  county  seven  hundred  years  ago. 
Society,  with  many  tokens  of  advancement,  had  not  yet  been 
harmoniously  blended.  The  Lowland  Scotch  variety  of  the 
Anglo-Saxon  speech,  still  uncouth,  was  only  beginning  to  pre- 
dominate. Few  persons  had  surnames.  Many  were  in  the 
condition  of  vileyns  or  serfs,  and  were  transferred  along  with  the 
lands  to  which  they  happened  to  be  heritably  attached. 

What  chiefly  calls  for  remark  in  a  review  of  these  early  times, 
is  the  entire  disappearance  of  the  aborigines.  Sinking  by  an 
inevitable  law  under  the  influence  of  men  of  higher  mental  type 
and  superior  culture,  they  seem  gradually  to  have  been  absorbed 
in  the  general  population,  and,  as  a  separate  race,  are  heard  of 
for  the  last  time  about  the  end  of  the  twelfth  century.  Certain 


charters  of  Malcolm  IV.  and  his  brother  William  the  Lion,  are 
addressed  to  the  people  of  Strathclyde,  Tweeddale,  and  other 
parts  of  the  bishopric  of  Glasgow ;  as  '  Francis,  Anglis,  Scottis, 
Walensibus,  et  Galwensibus,'  by  whom  are  meant  the  Norman- 
French,  English,  Scots,  British,  and  men  of  Galloway ;  whence  it  is 
evident  that,  as  late  as  this  period,  the  different  races  of  inhabitants 
were  still  distinct,  and  that  the  aborigines  had  not  disappeared 
as  an  element  in  the  population.  But  although  ultimately 
obliterated,  and  leaving  no  other  visible  trace  of  their  existence 
than  a  few  fragmentary  remains,  this  primitive  people,  as  already 
adverted  to,  have  bequeathed  a  class  of  antiquities  which  will, 
survive  through  all  time — the  names,  not  only  of  places,  but  of 
hills,  rivers,  and  other  physical  features  of  the  county.  Names 
are,  indeed,  the  greatest  antiquarian  curiosity  in  Peeblesshire, 
and  in  themselves  tell  the  history  of  the  county.  In  our  topo- 
graphical details,  this  will  have  more  special  notice  ;  here  it  will 
be  sufficient  to  present  a  few  general  illustrations. 

It  will  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  original  British,  Picts,  and 
Scoto-Irish  were  only  varieties  of  Celts,  and  spoke  dialects  of 
a  common  language,  now  represented  by  Welsh,  Gaelic,  and 
Irish.  To  these  three  dialects,  therefore,  belong  the  older  class  of 
names  in  Peeblesshire,  and  there  being  a  considerable  similarity 
between  them,  it  is  not  always  practicable  to  say  distinctly  by 
what  branch  of  the  Celts  the  names  were  imparted.  Some  are 
conspicuously  British,  and  none  more  so  than  the  name  Peebles, 
which  carries  us  back  to  that  remote  period  when  the  inhabitants 
lived  as  Bedouins  of  the  desert,  and  planted  their  tents  on  spots 
recommended  by  their  fertility  and  proximity  to  water.  Pabell, 
in  British,  signified  a  movable  habitation,  a  tent,  or  pavilion — the 
plural  being  Pebyll,1  which  would  thus  mean  tents,  and  be  applied 
to  the  place  where  they  were  pitched.  The  first  corruption  of 
the  name  consisted  in  adding  s,  apparently  to  give  a  satisfactory 
completeness  to  the  word.  For  ages,  the  name  was  written 
Peblis,  the  insertion  of  the  double  e  being  recent.  Whether 

1  Owen's  Wdsh  Dictionary,  2  vols.  410,  1803. 


Pabell  can  be  traced  to  the  same  root  as  that  of  the  Latin 
Papilio,  a  pavilion  or  tent,  might  form  the  subject  of  interesting 
etymological  investigation.1 

The  names  of  the  rivers  are  mostly  British.  Tweed  is  usually 
traced  to  Tuedd,  signifying  that  which  lies  on  a  border  or  bound- 
ary ;  and  if  that  be  the  true  meaning,  the  boundary  must  have 
been  that  between  ancient  tribes,  for  the  term  was  in  use  long 
before  the  division  of  the  island  into  England  and  Scotland. 
Lyne  appears  to  be  derived  from  the  British  Llyn,  a  pool — 
numberless  names  of  rivers  having  a  similar  origin.  Medwin, 
Medwyn,  or  Maidwan,  imports  that  which  flows  softly  (Sanscrit 
Mid,  Latin  Mitts).  Qttair  signifies  a  stream  with  a  winding 
course.  Leithen  is  from  the  British  Lleitho,  to  moisten  or  over- 
flow; such  being  the  root  of  several  names  of  rivers  besides 
that  in  Peeblesshire.  Garvald  is  generally  thought  to  be  from 
Garw,  rough  or  violent,  and  alt,  a  rivulet — the  rough-flowing 

Among  the  Celtic  roots  embraced  in  the  names  in  the  county 
are  Ard  or  Urd,  a  height  (Kirkurd)  ;  Car  or  Caer,  a  castle  or 
fort  (Cardon,  Caerlee)  ;  Dun,  a  hill  ;  Dean,  a  ravine  ;  Pen, 
a  peaked  and  conspicuous  mountain  (Pen  Valla,  Lee  Pen)  ; 
Coille,  a  wood  (Kailzie)  ;  Brae,  a  brow  or  acclivity  ;  Cam  or 
Cairn,  a  monumental  heap  of  stones  (Cairnmuir) ;  Kil,  a 
chapel  (Kilbucho) ;  Tor,  a  swelling  mount  (Torwood,  Torheune) ; 
Glen,  a  valley  through  which  water  flows  ;  Tra  or  Tre,  in 
British,  a  dwelling  or  hamlet  (Traquair,  Trahenna)  ;  Inver, 
upon  a  river  (Innerleithen) ;  Drum,  a  ridge  (Drummelzier) ; 
and  Knock,  a  hillock.  The  term  Coom  or  Coomb,  applied  to  a 
curved  or  arched  piece  of  ground,  is  found  in  the  county,  and  is 
from  the  British  cum  ;  the  Welsh  cwym,  Gaelic  cam,  Latin  cymba, 
and  French  combe  having  the  same  meaning.  Glac,  a  small 

1  Papilio,  a  pavilion  or  tent,  is  ordinarily  traced  to  Papilio,  a  butterfly,  from  a 
fancied  resemblance  between  a  tent  and  the  drooping  wings  of  a  butterfly,  when  the 
insect  has  alighted.  But  this  is  only  one  stage  in  the  investigation.  Whence 
Papilio,  as  the  name  for  butterfly?  We  have  above  hinted  at  the  possibility  of 
tracing  Papilio  and  Pabell  to  the  same  Asiatic  root;  thereby  strictly  identifying  the 
name  Peebles  with  the  English  word  Pavilions. 


hollow  (The  Glack');  Cloiche,  stones,  or  rocks  (The  Cloich); 
Racan,  arable  land  (Rachan) ;  Rath,  a  cleared  space,  also  signify- 
ing a  fortress  (Glenrath) ;  Bo-alt,  the  cow  stream  or  ford  (Bold, 
formerly  spelled  Boild) — were,  with  many  other  terms,  contri- 
buted by  a  Celtic  people. 

From  the  Danish  language  come  the  affixes  by  and  fell.  By 
originally  denoted  an  estate  or  farm  ;  then  it  was  applied  to  a 
cluster  of  farm-buildings ;  and  lastly,  under  its  Norwegian  form  of 
Beer,  it  originated  the  Lowland  Scotch  word  byre,  a  cow-house. 
The  affix  by  or  bie  is  common  in  Cumberland  (as  Kirkby, 
Netherbie)  ;  in  Peeblesshire,  we  see  it  in  Newby.  Fell  (Danish, 
Fjeld}  is  seen  in  Hartfell,  on  the  extremity  of  the  county.  The 
Danish  affixes  beck,  thorpe,  and  thwaite  do  not  occur  in  Peebles- 
shire.  Perhaps  we  might  except  thwaite,  for  Moorfoot,  the  name 
of  a  range  of  hills  beginning  in  Tweeddale,  and  extended  into 
Edinburghshire,  was  anciently  written  Morthwaite.  The  term 
gill  (the  g  hard),  signifying  a  mountain  recess,  claims  a  similar 
origin  (Islandic,  gil),  though  perhaps  remotely  allied  to  the  Celtic 
cuile,  a  corner.  Gill  occurs  in  Chaple-gill,  also  in  Baddinsgill,  a 
corruption  of  Baldwin's-gill. 

The  resemblance  between  many  words  in  Norwegian,  Danish, 
and  old  Saxon,  renders  it  difficult  to  assign  a  distinct  origin  to 
certain  names.  No  affix  is  more  common  in  Peeblesshire  than 
Hope,  as  Soonhope,  Gaithope,  Waddenshope,  &c.  The  meaning 
of  the  term  is  a  valley  among  the  hills,  closed  at  one  end,  a  cul- 
de-sac  ;  literally,  it  denotes  a  haven  or  place  of  refuge  (Islandic, 
Hop},  in  which  sense  it  is  applied  to  various  maritime  resorts. 
Hope  was  formerly  used  also  as  a  prefix — for  example,  in 
Hopkailzie,  the  old  name  of  Kailzie.  Another  term  of  this 
Teutonic  lineage  is  Kipp,  applied  to  the  pointed  summit  of  a 
hill  ;  as  Shielgreen  Kipps,  Newby  Kipps  (Anglo-Saxon  Ccepe, 
and  German  Kippe,  a  point  or  peak).  Law,  a  hill  wholly  or 
partially  isolated,  is  seen  in  Venlaw,  Dollarlaw,  and  Broadlaw. 
The  name  Nidpath,  or  Neidpath,  is  of  uncertain  origin.  Some 
might  be  disposed  to  trace  the  prefix  to  the  British  Nyddu,  to 
twist  or  turn,  in  which  case  the  meaning  of  the  word  would  be, 


the  winding-path — a  definition  that  would  fairly  apply  to  the 
spot.  But  this  is  not  a  probable  etymology  ;  it  might  be  quite 
as  rationally  conjectured  that  the  prefix  is  from  the  Danish  Nod 
(the  o  pronounced  as  the  French  «),  signifying  nolt  or  neat-cattle 
— a  road  used  by  cattle.  In  Peeblesshire,  as  in  the  south  of 
Scotland  generally,  Haugh,  signifying  a  rich  arable  field  on  the 
border  of  a  river,  is  of  frequent  occurrence,  both  as  applied  to 
ordinary  fields  of  this  class,  and  in  names  of  places  (Whitehaugh, 
Fernihaugh).  The  origin  of  the  term  is  doubtful  ;  some  trace  it 
to  the  Gaelic  achadh,  but  as  the  oldest  known  form  of  the  word 
was  halech,  it  has  an  affinity  to  the  English  hollow,  and  hence  is 
more  probably  Teutonic. 

The  affix  '  ton,'  occurring  in  the  name  of  a  place,  ordinarily 
marks  its  connection  with  a  personage  of  Anglo-Saxon  origin. 
Thus,  Eadulf,  an  Anglo-Saxon  settler,  communicated  his  name 
to  a  vil  or  ton,  which  is  now  known  as  Eddleston.  In  like 
manner,  settlers  named  Cruke,  Greve,  Kyde,  Molk,  Orme, 
Stephen,  and  Wynke,  respectively  originated  the  designations 
Crookston,  Grieston,  Kidston,  Milkiston,  Ormiston,  Stevenston, 
and  Winkston — the  transitions  to  these  latter  forms  of  the  words 
being  recognisable  in  deeds  dated  two  centuries  ago,  when  we 
see  Milkiston  written  Molkiston  ;  Kidston,  Kydiston  ;  and 
Grieston,  Greviston.  Greve,  as  is  well  known,  was  an  Anglo- 
Saxon  designation  of  a  public  officer,  perpetuated  in  the  Scotch 
term  grieve,  a  farm-overseer,  and  in  the  surname  Grieve.  The 
g  being  dropped,  the  word  is  found  modernised  in  borough-reeve 
and  shire-reeve  (sheriff).  The  Greves  of  Greviston  may  have 
been  so  called  from  the  office  which  they  held  immediately  after 
the  Anglo-Saxon  settlement. 

Names  incorporating  burgh  or  brough  are  traceable  to  a 
similar  origin.  Thus,  a  settler  presumedly  named  Orse,  or 
Horse,  built  a  burg  or  castle,  which  being  styled  Horsburgh  or 
Horsbrugh,  originated  that  surname.  It  would  be  easy  to  multiply 
instances  of  this  kind.  Names  incorporating  chapel,  dale,  field, 
hall,  head,  hill,  house,  kirk,  land,  myre,  shaw,  side,  spital,  syke, 
wick,  and  yards,  are  of  a  date  coeval  with,  or  subsequent  to,  the 


Anglo-Saxon  settlement.  In  the  same  category,  we  might 
include  swire  or  sware,  from  the  Anglo-Saxon,  signifying  a  neck 
or  pass  on  the  top  of  a  mountain  (Manor  Sware). 

It  should  be  added,  that  those  who  are  disposed  to  trace  the 
etymologies  of  names  of  places  in  Peeblesshire,  as  in  other  parts 
of  the  country,  will  need  to  guard  against  the  illusions  of  modern 
orthography,  for  neglect  on  this  score,  aided  by  the  popular 
imagination,  has  led  to  numberless  absurd  though  amusing 

The  changes  which  have  swept  over  Tweeddale  in  the  course  • 
of  seven  centuries,  leave  little  to  connect  the  past  with  the  present 
family  history  of  the  county.  Lands  have,  for  the  greater  part, 
changed  proprietors  repeatedly,  and  so  many  new  names  have 
been  introduced  by  marriage  or  purchase,  that  we  can  discern 
few  living  traces  of  the  feudal  investitures  of  the  twelfth  and 
thirteenth  centuries.  The  names  of  places,  however,  add  their 
testimony  to  that  of  public  documents  respecting  the  settlers  of 
a  comparatively  old  date.  As  lately  as  the  reign  of  Alexander 
III.,  many  of  the  proprietors  were  known  only  by  their  Christian 
names  in  association  with  their  places  of  residence  ;  as,  for 
example,  Adam  of  Orde  or  Horde,  Clement  of  Hopkeiloc,  and 
John  of  Tuedy.  Whether  these  and  others  so  designated  were 
of  foreign  race,  cannot  now  be  satisfactorily  known. 

The  Tweedies  of  Drummelzier,  admittedly  of  great  antiquity, 
whatever  may  be  their  origin,  disappeared  in  the  seventeenth 
century ;  and  how  many  other  families  of  note  have  also  vanished 
from  the  county,  will  become  apparent  in  our  topographical 
department.  Of  the  Vermels  or  Uermels  of  Romanno,  the 
Vaches  or  Veitches  of  Dawick,  the  Geddeses  of  Rachan,  the 
Haswells  and  Baddebies  of  Manor,  and  the  Erasers  of  Neidpath, 
there  is  now  as  little  trace  as  of  the  Eadulfs,  Cruikes,  Ormes, 
Molks,  Kydes,  and  others  who  bequeathed  names  to  places  in 
the  county.  The  Hays  of  Yester,  afterwards  Earls  of  Tweeddale, 
who  by  marriage  enjoyed  the  inheritance  of  the  Erasers,  quitted 
Peeblesshire  in  the  seventeenth  century.  The  Douglases, 
Earls  of  March,  who  succeeded  them  by  purchase,  are  now 


merged  in  the  Earls  of  Wemyss,  who  do  not  reside  in  the 
county.  The  Bardes  or  Bairds  of  Posso  have  been  merged 
by  marriage  in  the  Naesmyths  of  Posso  and  Dawick.  The 
Burnets  of  Burnetland  and  Barns,  an  ancient  family,  relin- 
quished their  possessions  only  in  our  own  times.  In  short,  the 
scarcity  of  extremely  old  families  is  as  remarkable  in  Peebles- 
shire  as  in  the  south  of  Scotland  generally.  Apparently,  the 
oldest  in  the  shire,  in  an  unbroken  line,  and  in  occupancy  of  the 
original  property,  is  the  family  of  Horsbrugh  of  that  Ilk.  Some 
old  families  are  represented  by  surviving  collateral  branches. 
The  Hays  of  Haystoun  connect  themselves  with  an  early  branch 
of  the  Hays  of  Yester  ;  and  the  Murrays,  Lords  Elibank,  trace 
their  origin  to  the  Morefs  or  Moravias,  through  the  Murrays  of 
Blackbarony.  Peebles  offers  some  examples  of  old  families, 
among  others,  that  of  Chambers,  who  might  trace  their  con- 
nection with  the  burgh  since  the  reign  of  Alexander  III.  ;  such 
affording  a  curious  instance  of  residence  in  the  same  spot 
upwards  of  five  hundred  years,  and  perhaps  nothing  could  be 
advanced  so  illustrative  of  the  hitherto  settled  character  of  this 
ancient  community. 


DURING  the  peaceful  and  prosperous  reign  of  Alexander 
III.,  a  valuation  of  lands  throughout  the  kingdom  was 
framed,  which  is  still  known  as  the  '  Old  Extent.'  As 
regards  temporal  lands,  there  is  no  precise  account  of  the  method 
of  valuation,  but  the  plan  for  valuing  the  spiritual  lands  is 
well  known.  In  1275,  Pope  Gregory  X.  made  a  demand  on 
the  Scottish  clergy  of  a  tenth  of  all  their  ecclesiastical 
revenues  for  six  years,  for  the  relief  of  the  Holy  Land.  For  the 
purpose  of  collecting  the  tax,  he  sent  to  Scotland  the  person  so 
famous  in  after-ages  under  the  name  of  Bagimont  (Magister 
Baiamundus)^;1  and  the  roll  which  he  made  up  became  the  Extent 
or  rule  of  assessment  of  the  lands  referred  to.  The  subject  is 
only  mentioned  here  for  the  purpose  of  stating  that,  according  to 
the  Old  Extent,  every  separate  piece  of  land  in  Peeblesshire,  as 
elsewhere,  became  known  as  being  of  a  particular  value,  which 
till  this  day  attaches  to  it — as  a  '  ten-pound  land,'  a  '  five-pound 
land,'  a  '  fifty-shilling  land  '  of  the  Old  Extent,  and  so  on.  The 
entire  annual  valued  rental  of  the  lands  in  the  county,  according 
to  this  Old  Extent,  was  ^"1274,  i8s.  6d. 

1  See  Memorial  for  Thomas  Cranstoun  of  Dewar,  Esq.,  against  Archibald  Gibson, 
Esq. — an  exceedingly  able  law-paper  in  a  Court  of  Session  process  (1816),  drawn  up 
by  the  late  Thomas  Thomson,  Deputy  Lord  Clerk  Register,  and  which  gives  an 
elaborate  account  of  the  Old  Extent 


The  distractions  consequent  on  the  demise  of  Alexander  III. 
soon  had  a  detrimental  effect  on  the  value  of  property.  Peebles- 
shire  was  happily  out  of  the  heat  of  the  struggle  for  the  crown, 
but  did  not  escape  its  effects.  The  town  and  county,  influenced 
possibly  by  the  Erasers,  inclined  to  the  claims  of  Baliol,  yet  any 
tendency  in  this  direction  saved  neither  gentry  nor  burgesses 
from  being  obliged,  along  with  others  throughout  Scotland,  to 
swear  fealty  to  Edward  I.,  chiefly  at  Berwick,  between  the  years 
1291  and  1296.  The  instruments  of  homage,  which  are  pre- 
served, though  in  a  mutilated  state,  among  the  State  Papers  of 
England,  have  happily  been  copied  with  care,  and  printed  as  a 
volume  by  the  Bannatyne  Club,  from  which  an  opportunity  is 
afforded  of  seeing  the  names  of  those  who  attested  their  alle- 
giance to  the  greatest  of  the  Plantagenets,  the  '  Hammer  of  the 
Scots.'  The  records  are  usually  known  by  the  uncouth  title  of 
the  RAGMAN  ROLLS.  In  the  prefatory  note  to  the  printed  copy 
just  referred  to,  the  editor  says  :  '  It  has  been  long  known  that 
in  these  records  may  be  found  the  largest  and  most  authentic 
enumeration  extant  of  the  nobility,  barons,  landholders,  and 
burgesses,  as  well  as  of  the  clergy  of  Scotland,  prior  to  the 
fourteenth  century.  No  part  of  the  public  records  of  Scotland 
prior  to  that  era  has  been  preserved,  from  which  any  detailed 
information  of  this  kind  might  have  been  derived  ;  and  whatever 
may  have  been  their  fate,  whether  intentionally  destroyed,  or 
allowed  to  perish  by  mere  neglect,  certain  it  is,  that  to  these 
English  records  of  our  temporary  national  degradation  are  we 
now  indebted  for  the  only  genuine  statistical  notices  of  the 
kingdom  towards  the  close  of  the  thirteenth  century.'  The 
records  are  in  the  form  of  a  succession  of  documents,  partly  in 
Latin  and  partly  in  Norman-French  ;  the  persons  concerned 
presenting  themselves  in  groups  from  some  particular  part  of  the 
country,  or  more  miscellaneously  along  with  others.  To  discover 
who  from  Peeblesshire  subscribed  the  instruments,  it  is  necessary 
to  go  over  the  whole  book,  and  select  them  where  they  occur, 
though,  after  all,  the  list  which  can  be  so  made  up  is  far  from 
perfect.  The  first  name  to  be  recognised  is  that  of  Symon 


Eraser,  which  appears  in  the  roll  for  1291,  among  the  names  of 
the  leading  barons  and  ecclesiastics.  In  the  roll  for  1296,  the 
following  are  given  as  connected  with  the  town  or  county.  We 
begin  by  copying  exactly  the  paragraph  which  embraces  the 
names  of  the  persons  belonging  to  Peebles. 

'  Item,  A  tous  ceaus  qui  cestes  lettres  veront  ou  orront — 
William  de  la  Chaumbre  Bailif  e  Burgois  de  Pebbles,  Johan 
Vicaire  del  Eglise  de  Pebbles,  Adam  de  Hord,  David  le  fiz 
Andrew,  Nichol  Northincheton,  Reinaud  Hardegrepes,  Johan  le 
fiz  Wautier  Gretheud,  Henry  Rauesmaugh,  Symond  le  Frere 
Wautier,  Symond  le  fiz  Geffrey,  Pieres  le  fiz  Geffrey,  e  Roger 
Blind  Burgois,  e  tote  la  communaute  de  Pebbles,  saluz.  Pur 
ceo'  [&c.,  consisting  of  the  declaration  that,  for  themselves  and 
their  heirs,  they  pledge  their  faith  and  amity  to  Edward,  the 
king  of  England,  and  his  heirs  ;  in  testimony  of  which  they 
swear  on  the  Holy  Evangels]. 

The  other  names  connected  with  Peeblesshire  are  mixed  up 
with  miscellaneous  groups,  as  follows  :  *  William  Freser,  Thomas 
de  la  Chaundel,  William  de  Maleuill  del  Counte  de  Pebles, 
Patrik  de  Maleuill,  William  Perel,  Roger  le  Mareschal,  William 
de  Maleuill,  William  de  Creleng,  Wautier  Lillok,  Thomas  Lillok, 
Rogier  de  Mohaut,  Rauf  del  Pount  de  Pebbles,  Hugh  of  the 
Leigg,  William  de  Hopkeliogh,  Johan  le  Naper,  Adam  Le  Feure 
de  Ersledoun,  William  Forneys,  tenauntz  le  Roi  du  Counte  de 
Pebbles.  Wautier  Comyn  de  Counte  de  Pebbles.  Thomas 
Walgh  del  Counte  de  Pebbles.  Robert  de  Hastinges,  Adam 
de  Pendenau,  Johan  Flemyng,  Erchebaud  de  Moref,  William  de 
Appleton,  Johan  de  Hatal,  Johan  de  Meldon,  William  Wywun- 
desone,  Laurence  Fresel,  Johan  Hope,  Malcolm  Erchebaudessone, 
Thomas  Buntyng,  Osbern  Chartres,  William  Baret,  Thomas  de 
Ledyorde,  Alisaundre  Dudyn,  Laurenz  atte  Boure,  Nicol  Kerre, 
Andreu  le  Seeler,  Esteuene  de  Glenwhym,  Thomas  le  Louerd, 
Bernard  de  Mouhat,  Alisaundre  de  Droghkil,  Jacob  Freman, 
Johan  Gilberdessone,  Adam  Louely,  William  le  Vache,  Cristin 
Lockard,  Gibbert  Darel,  Johan  Eyr  de  Mespennon,  Robert 
de  Threpeland,  Esteuene  de  Steuenston,  William  de  Erth, 


William  Frisith,  Anable  de  Cambos,  del  Counte  de  Pebbles. 
Adam  de  Horde,  del  Counte  de  Pebbles.  Wautier  le  Scot,  del 
Counte  de  Pebbles.  William  del  Skrogges,  Patrik  del  Gyle, 
William  fiz  Richard,  del  Counte  de  Pebbles.  Johan  de  Lil- 
leselyue  del  Counte  de  Pebbles,  Wautier  Comyn  del  Counte  de 
Pebbles.  Johan  de  Baddeby  del  Counte  de  Pebbles.  Meihel  de 
Dunde  persone  del  Eglise  de  Stubbehok,  Frere  Thomas  mistre 
de  la  meson  de  la  Seinte  Croice  de  Pebbles,  Mistre  Richard 
de  Boulden  persone  del  Eglise  de  Edalston,  Thomas  Lillok,  del 
Counte  de  Pebbles.' 

On  the  most  careful  examination,  we  fail  to  discover  the 
names  of  certain  old  families  which  might  have  been  expected 
to  be  in  one  or  other  of  the  rolls ;  but  this  is  perhaps  to  be 
accounted  for  by  imperfect  transcription,  or  the  loss  of  some  of 
the  documents.  The  volume  from  which  we  copy,  contains  no 
names  of  female  land-proprietors,  a  deficiency  compensated  by 
a  'list  of  ladies  who  swore  allegiance  to  the  king  of  England  in 
1296,  transcribed  from  the  original  in  the  Tower  of  London,'  and 
printed  in  Borthwick's  Inquiry  into  Feudal  Dignities?  also  in  the 
Rotuli  Scotia.  The  list  comprises  the  names  of  thirty-four 
proprietresses,  among  whom  appears  '  Sarra  of  Glen,  Peeblesshire.' 

Incomplete  as  the  different  rolls  may  happen  to  be,  they  are 
full  of  interest.  The  names  of  several  places  will  be  recognised — 
Leigg  or  Lee ;  Hopkeliogh  or  Kailzie ;  Orde  or  Horde  [Kirk- 
urd]  ;  Ladyurd ;  Stubbehok  or  Stobo ;  Edalston  or  Eddleston ; 
Thriepland ;  Mosfennan;  Drochil;  Glenholme;  and  Stevenston. 
The  Le  Vaches  or  Veitches,  as  already  noted,  were  long  posses- 
sors of  Dawick.  In  '  Erchebaud  de  Moref,'  we  see  the  progeni- 
tor of  the  Hurrays.  '  Frisel '  is  recognised  as  the  old  form  of 
Fraser.  Only  a  few  in  the  roll  had  surnames.  Several  are  distin- 
guished as  the  fiz  or  son  of  their  father;  the  names  of  these 
being  in  a  state  of  transition,  the  son  of  Andrew  becomes 
Anderson,  and  the  son  of  Geoffrey  turns  into  Jefferson.  Others 
are  on  the  eve  of  change :  William  de  la  Chaumbre  undergoes  a 

'Edinburgh,  i  vol.  8vo,  1775. 


transformation  into  William  Chambers,  and  Le  Naper  becomes 
Napier.1  John  the  vicar  of  the  church,  and  Rauf  the  keeper  of 
the  bridge,  are  known  by  their  professions.  Readers  may  find 
some  amusement  in  trying  to  connect  old  with  modern  names — 
as  Walgh  with  Waugh,  Lillok  with  Lillie,  and  Frisith  with 

Edward  I.  is  known  to  have  visited  Peebles,  and  to  have 
granted  charters  dated  from  its  royal  castle.  In  1304,  he  assigned 
Peebles  with  its  mill  and  other  pertinents  to  Aymer  de  Valence, 
his  warden  of  Scotland.  It  is  not  unreasonable  to  suppose  that 
gifts  of  this  nature  were  recalled  by  Robert  Bruce,  styled 
Robert  I.,  who  gave  large  grants  to  his  faithful  adherents  the 
Douglases.  Robert  I.  is  known  to  have  granted  a  charter  to  the 
burgh  of  Peebles,  including  freedom  to  hold  a  fair  ;  but  the  docu- 
ment is  among  the  missing  state  records.8  In  the  year  in  which 
Bruce  died,  1329,  Peebles  was  visited  by  his  son,  Prince  David,4 
then  a  boy  of  six  years  of  age,  who  ascended  the  throne  as 
David  II.,  and  during  the  early  years  of  whose  minority  the 
government  was  conducted  by  Randolph  Earl  of  Moray. 
Whether  the  prince  visited  Peebles  for  the  sake  of  his  health — 

1  We  have  an  amusing  instance  of  the  fabulous  origin  of  names  in  the  popular 
account  of  the  origin  of  the  ancient  and  honourable  family  of  Napier  :  '  King  David  II. 
(so  goes  the  story),  in  his  wars  with  the  English,  about  the  year  1334,  assembling  his 
subjects  to  battle,  the  Earl  of  Lennox  sent  his  second  son,  Donald,  with  such  forces  as 
his  duty  required.  In  an  engagement  which  followed,  the  Scots  gave  way,  when 
Donald,  taking  his  father's  standard  from  the  bearer,  and  valiantly  charging  the  enemy 
with  the  Lennox-men,  the  fortune  of  battle  changed,  and  they  obtained  the  victory. 
When  the  battle  was  over,  every  chief  advanced  and  reported  his  acts;  according  to 
custom,  to  the  king,  who  declared  that  they  all  behaved  valiantly,  but  that  there  was 
one  among  them  who  had  nae  pier,  or  no  equal ;  upon  which,  Donald  took  the  name 
of  NAPIER,  and  had,  in  reward  for  his  good  services,  the  lands  of  Gosfield  and  other 
estates  in  the  county  of  Fife. '  It  is  unfortunate  for  this  ingenious  narrative,  that  there 
was  a  '  Johan  le  Naper '  in  the  county  of  Peebles,  and  also  a  '  Mathew  le  Naper  de 
Aghelek,'  in  the  county  of  Forfar,  both  of  whom  appear  in  the  Ragman  Roll  in  1296, 
five-and-twenty  years  before  the  birth  of  David  II. 

*  The  corruption  of  names,  arising  from  a  tendency  to  abbreviate  and  to  adopt 
leading  sounds,  is  conspicuous  in  the  following  instances,  some  of  which  occur  in  the 
Ragman  Roll — Montfitchet,  is  transformed  into  Muschet,   Montalt  into   Mouhat  or 
Mowat,  Vache  into  Veitch,  Baddeby  into  Baptie,  Vermel  into  Wurmel,  and  Grosse- 
teste  (Greathead)  into  Grozet. 

3  Robertson's  Index  to  the  Charters,  p.  1 5,  No.  4. 

*  Chamberlain  Rolls,  vol.  i.  p.  62. 


for  in  old  times  the  town  was  a  favourite  country  retreat  of 
royalty — or  as  a  matter  of  amusement  at  the  Beltane  festival, 
cannot  now  be  known. 

During  his  temporary  and  imperfect  possession  of  Scotland, 
consequent  on  the  battle  of  Halidon  Hill,  Edward  Baliol,  in 
1334,  surrendered  to  Edward  III.  a  large  portion  of  the  south  of 
Scotland,  including  the  county  of  Peebles.1  The  north-western 
boundaries  of  the  ceded  territory  were  to  be  Carlops,  and  the 
hill  of  Crosscryne  ;  so  says  Wynton  in  his  rhyming  Chronicle — 

'  At  Karlynlippis  and  at  Cros-cryne, 
Thare  thai  made  the  marches  syne.' 

It  cannot  be  supposed  that  the  people  of  Peeblesshire  relished 
this  transfer,  for  the  country  was  overrun  by  an  English  force, 
which  made  many  heavy  exactions.  The  return  of  David  II. 
from  France,  where  he  had  been  educated,  imparted  a  gleam  of 
hope  to  Scotland,  but  his  disastrous  defeat  at  the  battle  of  Durham, 
1 346,  when  he  was  taken  prisoner  and  carried  to  London,  threw 
the  country  back  to  its  former  deplorable  condition.  Negotia- 
tions for  peace  and  the  ransom  and  delivery  of  David  having 
taken  place  in  1356,  a  parliament  met  next  year  to  ratify  the 
stipulations.  To  this  important  assemblage  of  the  Scottish 
Estates,  Peebles  deputed  two  commissioners,  '  Nicholas  the  son 
of  John,  and  John  the  son  of  William' — such  being,  perhaps,  the 
first  time  representatives  were  ever  sent  from  Peebles.  By  the 
arrangements  on  this  occasion,  the  English  claims  on  Scotland 
were  finally  extinguished.  Perhaps  with  the  view  of  insuring 
the  loyalty  of  the  burgh,  and  affording  it  the  means  of  better 
defence  as  a  border  town,  David  II.  confirmed  its  former 
privileges,  and  constituted  it  a  royal  burgh  by  charter,  dated 
24th  September  1367. 

There  was  a  need  for  every  such  encouragement.  The  wars  of 
the  succession  had  produced  wide-spread  desolation,  many  lands 
had  gone  out  of  culture,  woods  the  pride  of  the  country  had  been 
partially  destroyed  and  sunk  to  waste,  leaving  in  their  place 

1  llailes's  Annals  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii.  p.  210. 


marshes  with  decaying  timber,  which,  in  the  course  of  nature, 
were  transformed  into  those  dismal  peat-mosses  which  disfigured 
the  landscape  until  reclaimed  by  the  operations  of  the  agricul- 
turist. Bands  of  impoverished  and  houseless  natives  wandered 
about  as  beggars  or  robbers ;  and  from  this  time  until  after  the 
union  of  the  crowns,  whether  England  and  Scotland  were  at  war 
or  peace,  the  vale  of  Tweed  was  exposed  to  a  constant  succession 
of  wasteful  and  marauding  expeditions.  In  the  space  of  a 
century,  the  annual  value  of  the  lands  in  the  county  diminished 
a  third.  From  £1274,  IBs.  6d.,  according  to  the  Old  Extent, 
the  value  in  1368  had  fallen  to  £863,  13^.  ^d. 

Secluded  in  the  bosom  of  a  mountainous  country,  at  the 
distance  of  fifty  miles  from  the  border,  Peebles  and  the  district 
around  it  were  not  exposed  to  such  frequent  forays  as  Jedburgh, 
Kelso,  and  Melrose.  Neither  town  nor  country,  however,  was 
exempted  from  these  predatory  visits,  and  freebooters  from  the 
border  swept  the  country  of  its  cattle,  and  all  they  could  lay 
their  hands  on  as  far  as  the  head  of  Eddleston  Water  and  the 
Kingside  Edge.  As  regards  professed  warfare,  the  whole  country 
along  the  Tweed  occasionally  suffered  a  species  of  temporary 
desolation,  not  only  by  the  vengeance  of  invaders,  but  by  the 
natives  laying  everything  waste  on  the  approach  of  the  enemy. 
This  continued  (says  a  master  of  the  subject)  '  to  be  the  Scottish 
defensive  system  for  many  ages,  and  of  course,  while  it  exposed 
invaders  to  hardships,  loss,  and  want  of  subsistence,  it  reduced 
the  frontiers  of  their  own  countiy,  for  the  time,  to  a  desert  waste. 
Beacons  were  lighted  in  such  a  manner  as  to  signify  either  the 
threatened  approach,  or  actual  arrival,  of  the  English  army. 
These  were  maintained  by  Hume  Castle,  at  the  tower  of  Edgers- 
hope  or  Edgerstane,  near  the  sources  of  the  Jed,  upon  the  ridge 
of  the  Soltra  Hills,  at  Dunbar,  Dunpender  (or  Trapraine)  Law, 
North  Berwick  Law,  and  other  eminences ;  and  their  light  was  a 
signal  for  the  Scottish  forces  to  assemble  at  Edinburgh  and 
Haddington,  abandoning  to  waste  and  pillage  all  the  southern 
counties." ' 

1  Border  Antiquities,  by  Sir  Walter  Scott,  vol.  i.  p.  55. 


The  feudal  fortlets  of  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  centuries 
were  now  strengthened,  if  not  increased  in  number,  and  to  these 
Peel  or  Bastel  Houses,  all  who  could  conveniently  do  so  fled  for 
refuge  on  the  signal  of  invasion.  These  old  castles,  now  generally 
in  ruin,  constitute  a  remarkable  class  of  antiquities  in  the  county. 
Among  the  oldest  is  Neidpath,  but  the  additions  made  to  it  have 
disguised  or  masked  its  original  character.  Traquair  has  under- 
gone a  similar  change.  The  castle  of  Peebles  is  entirely  gone, 
its  site  being  occupied  by  the  church  and  a  bowling-green.  The 
other  buildings  of  this  kind  consist  of  strong  Peel  Houses,  by 
no  means  elegant  in  appearance,  but  rugged,  stern,  and  gray, 
and  which,  though  in  ruin,  still  seem  to  offer  defiance  to  the 
action  of  the  weather.  None  of  these  buildings  approaches  in 
size  or  grandeur  to  Naworth,  Hermitage,  or  Tantallon.  Peebles- 
shire  had  no  titled  barons  of  an  early  date.  During  the  border 
wars,  its  proprietors  were  chiefly  of  the  rank  of  lairds,1  of 
whom  a  few  were  knights,  possessing  considerable  local  power 
through  allied  kindred.  Their  castles  were,  for  the  greater 
part,  of  the  ordinary  peel-house  character — three  stories  in 
height,  each  story  consisting  of  an  arched  vault,  with  a  narrow 
stair  winding  up  in  one  corner  to  the  top.  The  walls  were  of 
excessive  thickness,  four  to  five  feet  being  common ;  and  they 
were  provided  with  doors  strongly  studded  with  iron.  The 
general  absence  of  sandstone  in  the  county  caused  these 
peels  to  be  constructed  entirely  of  the  dark  grauwacke  stone, 
in  small,  irregular-shaped  pieces,  bound  by  a  lime  cement 
of  immense  durability.  The  accommodation  offered  by  these 
dwellings  must  have  been  exceedingly  limited ;  for,  setting 
aside  the  lower  vault  for  cattle,  the  two  upper  apartments 
alone  remained  for  the  family.  But  as  each  of  these  apart- 
ments is  usually  not  more  than  twelve  feet  square,  it  is  more 

1  The  Scotch  term,  laird,  is  synonymous  with  the  lord,  dominus,  or  absolute 
proprietor  of  lands  held  direct  from  the  crown.  If  lands  be  held  from  a  subject- 
superior,  as  often  happens,  the  proprietor  is  in  legal  phraseology  a  vassal,  and  no 
matter  how  extensive  his  possessions,  is  in  point  of  social  dignity  only  a  goodman  or 
yeoman.  See  Science  of  Heraldry,  book  i. ,  chap.  2  ;  also  Sir  George  Mackenzie's 
Works*  vol.  ii. 


than  probable  that  the  chief  members  of  the  household,  or  at 
least  the  armed  retainers,  lived  outside  in  huts,  and  resorted 
to  the  tower  only  as  a  temporary  refuge.  Each  of  the  upper 
floors  had  a  capacious  fireplace  and  chimney,  and  was  provided 
with  apertures — they  can  scarcely  be  called  windows — to  admit 
air  and  light.  On  the  summit  was  a  small  bartizan  or  point  of 
outlook,  on  which  was  an  iron  grate  containing  fuel  ready  to 
be  lit  as  a  bail-fire  to  give  signal  of  approaching  danger.  In 
general,  the  towers  were  provided  with  a  quadrangular  court- 
yard, in  front,  surrounded  with  a  wall,  the  gate  of  which  would 
of  course  require  to  be  forced  before  an  assault  could  be  made 
on  the  grated  door.  The  lines  in  the  Eve  of  St  John  will 
occur  to  remembrance — 

'  He  pass'd  the  court-gate,  and  oped  the  tower-grate, 

And  he  mounted  the  narrow  stair, 

To  the  bartizan-seat,  where,  with  maids  that  on  her  wait, 
He  found  his  lady  fair. ' 

On  the  line  of  the  Tweed  with  its  lateral  valleys,  the  towers  are 
placed  at  intervals  of  a  mile  to  two  miles,  from  the  lower  to  the 
higher  parts  of  the  county.  On  the  side  of  a  hill,  within  the 
verge  of  Selkirkshire,  stands  the  ruin  of  Elibank  Tower,  of 
greater  than  ordinary  dimensions,  which  was  once  the  seat 
of  the  Murrays,  and  now  gives  title  to  the  Lords  Elibank. 
This  imposing  tower  on  the  south  bank  looked  towards  one 
at  Holylee,  also  within  Selkirkshire,  but  on  the  north  bank. 
Thence  the  communication  through  Peeblesshire  was  kept  up, 
generally  zigzagging  across  the  river,  to  Scrogbank,  Caberstone, 
Bold,  Flora,  Purvis  Hill,  Pirn,  Traquair,  Grieston,  Ormiston, 
Cardrona,  Nether  Horsburgh,  Horsburgh,  Peebles,  and  Neidpath. 
At  Peebles,  signals  went  northwards  to  Smithfield,  Hutchinfield, 
Shielgreen,  Foulage,  Cringletie,  Blackbarony,  and  the  high 
grounds  on  the  borders  of  Mid-Lothian.  Southwards,  Peebles 
communicated  with  Haystoun.  Pursuing  the  course  of  the 
river  upwards,  Neidpath  was  seen  at  Caverhill,  which  sent 
signals  up  Manor  Water,  and  also  to  Barns,  whence  there  were 
communications  with  Lyne,  Easter  Happrew,  Dawick,  Stobo, 


Dreva,  Tinnis,  Drummelzier,  Stenhope,  Quarter,  Wrae,  Mos- 
fennan,  Kingledoors,  Oliver  Castle,  Polmood,  and  Hawkshaw. 
Ascending  the  Lyne,  there  were  towers  to  be  communicated 
with  at  Wester  Happrew,  Stevenston,  Callands,  Kirkurd,  and 
Skirling  ;  also  Romanno,  Halmyre,  Carlops,  Coldcoat,  Briglands, 
Whiteford,  and  probably  some  other  places. 

From  this  hasty  sketch,  it  will  be  seen  how,  according  to  a 
rude  species  of  telegraphing,  by  means  of  smoke  by  day  and  fire 
by  night,  aided  as  the  towers  were  by  certain  hill-top  signals,  it 
was  practicable  to  rouse  the  whole  county  in  a  short  space  of 
time.  It  was  one  of  the  ancient  laws  on  the  marches,  that  '  he 
who  did  not  join  the  array  of  the  country  upon  the  signal  of 
the  beacon-lights,  or  who  left  it  during  the  continuance  of  the 
English  invasion  without  lawful  excuse,  should  suffer  forfeiture 
of  his  goods,  and  have  his  person  placed  at  the  warden's  will.' 

Fig.  16. — Cardrona  Tower  in  ruins. 

In  order  to  shew  the  general  appearance  of  the  old  castles  in 
the  county,  we  offer  a  sketch  of  that  of  Cardrona.  One  of  the 
most  picturesque  of  the  series,  it  is  situated  on  the  face  of  a  hill, 


overlooking  the  Tweed,  parish  of  Traquair,  and  was  anciently 
the  seat  of  the  Govans,  but  now  belongs  to  the  family  of 

For  security  against  hostile  intrusion,  the  inhabitants  of 
Peebles  endeavoured  to  environ  their  town  with  a  wall,  which, 
in  its  earlier  forms,  however,  consisted  only  of  a  continuation  of 
dykes  at  the  foot  of  the  gardens  belonging  to  the  different 
proprietors  ;  and  the  obligation  to  keep  their  respective  dykes  in 
repair  appears  from  the  burgh  records  to  have  been  imposed  as  a 
public  duty.  It  need  hardly  be  said  that  this  species  of  fortifica- 
tion could  have  offered  no  serious  obstacle  to  a  strong  body  of 
invaders.  For  further  security,  the  dwellings  of  the  inhabitants 
were  constructed  with  the  lower  floor  in  the  form  of  an  arched 
vault.  Scott,  in  his  Border  Antiquities,  speaks  of  the  number  of 
bastel-houses  in  Jedburgh,  Melrose,  and  Lessudden,  this  last 
place  having  as  many  as  '  sixteen  strong  bastel-houses  when 
burned  by  Sir  Ralph  Evers  in  1544.'  We  know  not  from  any 
authority  how  many  were  the  strengths  of  this  kind  in  Peebles, 
nor  what  was  their  height.  Altered  in  the  course  of  successive 
improvements,  the  bastel-houses  in  Peebles  have  not  within 

memory  consisted  of  more  than  two 
to  three  stories,  and  exteriorly  were 
unpretending   thatched    houses.     The 
only  vaulted  floor  was  that  level  with 
the  ground  ;    it  was  provided  with  a 
low  arched  doorway,  such  as  is  repre- 
sented in  fig.  17,  but  with  no  access 
to  the  floor  above,  that  having  been 
by  an  outside  stair.     Originally,  the 
stair   may   have   been   of  wood,  and 
Door  of  a  Bastel-house,  removable  on  signs  of  danger.      The 
roof,   we    believe,    was    invariably    of 
was    so    easily    fired    by   an   enemy,   that   the 
a   border    town   was    readily   accomplished  ;     but 

Fig.  17. 


thatch,    which 

burning   of 

thatching   had   this   advantage,   that    in   cases   of    desperation, 

the    inhabitants    tore    the    roofs     from    their    dwellings,    and 


piling  the  materials  in  the  street,  set  the  whole  on  fire,  in 
order  to  stifle  and  interrupt  the  progress  of  the  invaders.  A 
scene  of  this  kind,  with  thatch  blazing,  and  swords  and  lances 
gleaming,  accompanied  with  shouts  of  assault  and  defiance,  is 
required  to  fill  up  the  picture  of  past  times  in  Peebles.  One 
can  almost  fancy  the  scene  of  consternation  which  occurred 
in  one  of  these  border  forays  at  the  beginning  of  the  fifteenth 

About  1406,  in  the  course  of  the  wars  which  marked  so  dis- 
mally the  regency  of  the  Duke  of  Albany,  Sir  Robert  Umphra- 
ville,  Vice-admiral  of  England,  made  an  incursion  into  Scotland, 
and  attacking  the  town  of  Peebles  on  a  market-day,  made  great 
spoil  of  the  wares  there  collected,  causing  his  men  to  measure  out 
the  cloth  with  their  bows  and  spears.  According  to  Hardyng's 
Chronicle,  Umphraville  acquired  from  this  fact  the  name  of 
Robin  Mendmarket — 

At  Peebles  .... 

He  brent  the  town  upon  thair  market-day, 
And  mete  their  cloth  with  spears  and  bows  sere, 
By  his  bidding  without  any  nay ; 
Wherefore  the  Scots  from  thenceforward  ay 
Called  him  Robin  Mendmarket  in  certain, 
For  his  measures  were  so  large  and  plain. 

According  to  other  authors,  he  acquired  the  name  in  consequence 
of  a  foray  which  he  made  by  sea  four  years  later,  when  a  dearth 
prevailing  in  England,  he  returned  with  such  store  of  victual  as 
to  bring  down  prices.  The  once  powerful  Northumberland 
family  of  Umphraville  has  decayed  and  gone  out  in  extreme 
poverty.  One  of  the  last  of  the  family,  Mr  William  Umfreville, 
keeper  of  St  Nicolas's  Workhouse,  Newcastle,  died  in  indigent 
circumstances  in  1789.  He  possessed  what  was  said  to  be  the 
sword  of  the  Sir  Robert  who  assaulted  Peebles  in  the  manner 

Shortly  after  the  event  just  related,  considerable  light  is 
thrown  on  the  history  of  Peebles,  in  consequence  of  its  connection 
with  the  very  interesting  poem  entitled  Peebles  to  the  Play, 
ascribed  to  James  I.  of  Scotland,  who  has  given  more  celebrity 



to  the  town  by  this  literary  production  than  any  person  in 
ancient  or  modern  times.  James  was  the  second  son  of  Robert 
III.,  and  was  born  in  1393.  In  consequence  of  the  murder  of 
his  elder  brother,  David,  he  became  the  heir  to  the  throne,  and 
while  a  boy  of  ten  years  of  age,  he  was  sent  by  his  old  and  infirm 
father  to  be  educated  at  the  court  of  France.  On  his  voyage 
thither,  he  was  captured  by  an  English  squadron,  and  taken 
prisoner  to  London,  where,  by  orders  of  Henry  IV.,  he  was 
confined  two  years.  Afterwards  liberated  from  strict  confinement, 
he  was  still,  contrary  to  international  law,  and,  as  is  believed,  at 
the  instance  of  his  uncle,  the  Duke  of  Albany,  now  Regent 
of  Scotland,  retained  as  a  prisoner  for  fifteen  years.  The 
injustice  of  his  seizure  and  confinement,  as  has  been  said  by 
Walpole,  was  amply  compensated  by  the  generous  attention 
bestowed  on  his  education.  Favoured  by  natural  genius,  James 

became  a  prodigy  of  talents  and 
accomplishments.  He  is  said  to 
have  been  a  proficient  in  every 
branch  of  polite  literature ;  in 
grammar,  oratory,  Latin  and 
English  poetry,  music,  jurisprud- 
ence, and  the  philosophy  of  his 
times.  In  all  athletic  exercises, 
particularly  in  the  use  of  the 
sword  and  spear,  he  was  emi- 
nently expert ;  and  his  dexterity 
in  tilts  and  tournaments,  in 
wrestling,  in  archery,  and  in  the 
sports  of  the  field,  was  perfectly 

On  the  death  of  Albany,  and  by  payment  of  a  heavy  ransom, 
James  was  restored  to  his  Scottish  subjects  ;  his  liberation  being 
signalised  by  his  marriage  with  Lady  Jane  Beaufort,  daughter  of 
John  Earl  of  Somerset,  to  whom  he  had  become  attached  during 

Fig.  1 8. 

1  Royal  and  Noble  Authors,  hy  Horatio  Walpole,  Earl  of  Orford,  v.  5. 


his  captivity.  James  I.  was  crowned  in  1424,  and  his  poem  of 
Peebles  to  the  Play  was  in  all  probability  suggested  by  his  visits 
to  Peebles  during  the  ensuing  ten  years.  The  date  of  the  piece 
may  be  referred  to  about  1430,  at  which  period  the  ecclesiastical 
establishments  of  Peebles  were  in  their  glory,  and  the  town  was 
rendered  attractive  by  a  famous  anniversary  of  rural  sports  on 
Beltane-day,  or  the  ist  of  May.  For  the  accommodation  of  the 
royal  retinue  on  such  occasions,  there  was  some  choice  in  the 
convent  of  the  Cross  Church,  and  the  house  of  the  dean  of 
Peebles ;  also  the  ancient  castle  connected  with  the  town,  and 
the  adjoining  castles  of  Neidpath  and  Smithfield.  The  festivities 
of  Beltane  originated  in  the  ceremonial  observances  of  the 
original  British  people,  who  lighted  fires  on  the  tops  of  hills  and 
other  places  in  honour  of  their  deity  Baal ;  hence  Beltane  or 
Beltien,  signifying  the  fire  of  Baal.1  The  superstitious  usage 
disappeared  in  the  progress  of  Christianity,  but  certain  festive 
customs  on  the  occasion  were  confirmed  and  amplified,  and  the 
rural  sports  of  Beltane  at  Peebles,  including  archery  and  horse- 
racing,  with  much  holiday  fun  and  jollity,  drew  crowds  not  only 
from  the  immediate  neighbourhood,  but  from  Edinburgh  and 
other  places  at  a  distance. 

The  festival  of  Beltane  was  so  conformable  to  James's  good- 
humour  and  love  of  manly  sports,  that  we  can  easily  understand 
how  he  should  have  loved  to  visit  Peebles,  and  be  a  witness,  if 
not  partaker,  in  the  scene  of  amusement.  Nor  are  we  to  forget 
that,  in  commemorating  the  revelries,  he  shews  an  acquaintance- 
ship with  various  places  in  the  neighbourhood,  and  also  of  the 
language  and  manners  of  the  people,  which  could  scarcely  have 
been  obtained  by  report.  If  he  wrote  the  poem  at  all,  he  did  so 
from  personal  observation,  and  that  he  was  its  composer,  is 
generally  acknowledged. 

The  poem  of  Peebles  to  the  Play  commences  with  a  gathering 

1  The  term  Beltein  or  Beltane  is  derived  from  Beal  or  Reil,  the  Celtic  god  of  light, 
or  sun-god,  a  deity  mentioned  by  Ausonius  (309-392  A.D.),  and  tin  or  /«'«,  fire. 
This  heathen  festival  was  once .  common  to  all  the  Celtic  nations,  and  had  been 
brought  by  them  from  the  East.  See  Chambers's  Encyclopedia,  article  BELTEIN. 


of  the  people  from  all  parts  of  the  adjacent  country  to  attend  the 
fair  or  festival.  We  may  quote  a  few  verses  of  this  curious  old 
poem,  only  modernising  the  spelling.  It  thus  begins  : 

'  At  Beltane,  when  ilk  body  bounds 

To  Peebles  to  the  Play, 
To  hear  the  singing  and  the  sounds, 

Their  solace,  sooth  to  say. 
By  firth  and  forest  forth  they  found, 

They  graithit  them  full  gay ; 
God  wait  that  wold  they  do  that  stound, 
For  it  was  their  feast-day, 

They  said, 
Of  Peebles  to  the  Play. 

All  the  wenches  of  the  west 

Were  up  ere  the  cock  crew : 
For  reeling  there  might  nae  man  rest, 

For  garray 1  nor  for  glew.' 2 

Various  places  which  still  retain  their  old  names  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, are  referred  to  as  furnishing  detachments  of  the 
company : 

'  Hope-Cailye  and  Cardrona, 

Gatherit  out  thick  fald, 
With  "  Hey  and  howe,  rohumbelow."3 

The  young  folks  were  full  bald. 
The  bagpipe  blew,  and  they  out-threw 

Out  of  the  towns  untald  : 
And  sic  ane  schout  was  there  amang, 
When  they  were  ower  the  wald, 

There  west, 
At  Peebles  to  the  Play.' 

A  tavern-scene,  and  a  quarrel  and  fight  which  there  arose,  with 
some  laughable  circumstances,  are  then  described : 

'  They  thrang  out  of  the  door  at  ance, 

Withouten  ony  reddin' ; 
Gilbert  in  ane  gutter  glayde, 
He  gat  nae  better  beddin*. 
There  was  not  ane  of  them  that  day 

Wad  do  ane  other's  bidden  ; 
Thereby  lay  three-and-thritty-some, 
Trunland  in  ane  middin 

Of  draff, 
At  Peebles  to  the  Play.' 

1  Garray,  preparation,  dressing.  *  Glew,  glee.  8  Name  of  a  tune. 


The  twenty-sixth  stanza  concludes  the  poem : 

'  By  this  the  sun  was  setting  fast, 

And  near  done  was  the  day ; 
There  men  might  hear  shakin'  of  chafts 

When  that  they  went  their  way. 
Had  there  been  mair  made  of  this  sang, 

Mair  should  I  to  you  say ; 
At  Beltane,  when  ilk  body  bounds 

To  Peebles  to  the  Play.' 

As  a  literary  production  of  a  Scottish  monarch  in  the  fifteenth 
century,  Peebles  to  the  Play  is,  in  many  respects,  remarkable.  It 
may  be  observed  by  those  who  examine  the  poem,  that  it  is 
written  in  the  same  kind  of  language  as  that  of  Chaucer's 
Pilgrimage  to  Canterbury,  and  contains  words  which,  though 
dropped  from  modern  English,  are  still  retained  in  the  Scottish 
vernacular,  such  as  graithit,  dressed ;  reddin',  allaying  disorder ; 
cJiafts,  jaws  ;  ilk,  every;  and  so  on.  An  allusion  in  the  poem  to 
the  '  Holy  rood '  points  to  the  veneration  in  which  the  cross  of 
St  Nicholas  was  held.  A  fair  is  still  held  at  Peebles  on  the 
second  Wednesday  of  May,  and  called  Beltane  Fair.  As  lately 
as  the  middle  of  last  century,  it  was  distinguished  by  a  horse- 
race, when  the  magistrates  gave  a  considerable  prize.  That  the 
term  Peebles  to  or  at  the  Play,  popularly  signified  the  annual 
festival  in  the  town,  is  apparent  from  the  opening  stanzas  of 
Christ  Kirk  on  the  Green,  a  poem,  also  descriptive  of  rural 
revelries,  ascribed  to  James  V. 

'  Was  ne'er  in  Scotland  heard  nor  seen 

Sic  dancin'  nor  deray,1 
Neither  at  Falkland  on  the  Green, 
Or  Peebles  at  the  Play.' 

In  taking  leave  of  the  Beltane  festival,  it  is  pleasing  to  know 
that  its  accomplished  commentator,  James  I.,  was  long  retained 
in  grateful  remembrance  by  the  community  of  Peebles,  as  is 
evidenced  by  their  endowment  to  say  a  mass  daily  in  the  parish 
church,  for  the  soul  of  the  royal  poet,  who  was  barbarously 
murdered  at  Perth,  1437. 

1  Deray,  mirthful  disorder. 


ESTABLISHED  as  a  royal  burgh,  and  confirmed  in  ancient 
privileges  and  possessions  by  David  II.,  Peebles  received 
a  renewal  of  its  charter  from  James  II.,  who  ascended  the 
throne  in  1437  ;  and  it  is  during  his  reign,  namely,  on  the  4th  of 
October  1456,  that  the  records  of  the  burgh  commence,  or, 
more  properly,  it  is  from  that  date  that  any  of  them  have  been 
preserved.  Unfortunately,  these  records,  as  is  not  unusual  with 
documents  of  that  kind,  have  suffered  such  serious  damage  as 
in  many  places  to  be  illegible,  while  large  portions,  extending 
over  many  years,  are  entirely  gone.  Making  use  of  the  records 
as  far  as  practicable,  we  find  a  variety  of  particulars  worthy 
of  being  extracted,  not  only  as  illustrative  of  past  manners,  but 
as  significant  of  the  legislative  authority  at  one  time  exercised 
in  local  matters  by  town-councils.  Grouping  together  at  first 
a  few  extracts,  we  shall  afterwards  intersperse  them  as  they  may 
be  available  in  our  narrative  according  to  date.1 

1456,  Oct.  4. — The  hed  court  of  the  burgh  haldyn  Monenday  the  ferd 
day  of  the  monith  October ;  ye  sitting  callet,  the  court  affirmit  ilk 
absent  in  amersiment.  [Every  absent  member  fined.] — B.  R. 

Item,   In  yt  ilk  day,  Will  Bullo  stud  up  in  ye  court,  and  claimit  of 

1  In  our  extracts  from  these  and  other  old  records,  we  have  deemed  it  advisable  to 
modernise  the  orthography  of  some  of  the  words.  We  likewise  generally  substitute 
common  for  Roman  numerals. 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  79 

William  of  Peblys  a  sartan  soum  of  gold  and  silver  quhilk  he  had  gyfen 
him  beyond  ye  se  to  keip,  and  ye  said  Will  of  Peblys  denyit  that  he 
aweth  ayther  tyl  him  gold  or  silver.  [Bailies  order  the  parties  to  be 
put  to  their  '  grit  oth.'] — B.  R. 

1458,  Oct.  2. — It  was  ordained  that  ony  browster  that  brak  prys  sail 
be  fined  for  the  first  faut,  a  galon  of  ale  ;  the  neist  faut,  twa  ;  the  third 
faut,  three  ;  the  ford  faut,  viii  s. — B.  R. 

From  innumerable  entries  of  this  kind  we  learn  that  fines  were 
a  prolific  source  of  revenue.  It  would  appear  that  when  the 
burghal  authorities  resolved  on  any  costly  public  improvement, 
they  set  about  to  statute  and  ordain  divers  fines,  in  order  to  raise 
the  requisite  funds.  There  was  no  lack  of  matters  calling  for 
this  species  of  interference  ;  fights, '  distrowbling,'  flyting  or  scold- 
ing, placing  dunghills  on  the  street,  lowering  the  legalised  prices 
of  ale,  bread,  meat,  candles,  and  other  articles,  buying  from 
unfreemen,  forestalling  or  purchasing  goods  wholesale  before 
they  were  exhibited  publicly  at  the  market-cross,  and  the 
admission  of  burgesses,  being  all  considered  fair  subjects  of  fine. 
October  15,  1459,  four  persons  on  being  admitted  burgesses  were 
bound  to  make  a  yard  of  causeway  each ;  and  on  2ist  of  April 
following,  two  new  burgesses  were  obliged  to  make  a  rood  of 
causeway  each,  or  pay  ten  shillings.  The  burgh  being  in  want 
of  a  '  knok '  or  town-clock,  proceeded  to  impose  fines  for  the 

1462,  Oct.  26. — Whoever  brak  the  prys  of  brede  or  ale,  sail  be  fined 
twelve  pence  to  ye  buying  of  a  knok.  Item,  That  ilka  man  has  his 
dike  made  by  Martimas  under  pane  of  twa  shillings  taken  to  ye  knok. 
Item,  That  straikens  [coarse  linen]  that  gang  to  ye  market  be  rowand 
round  and  not  square  ;  also,  whosoever  there  be  that  fechts  or  tulzies  to 
the  distrowbelling  of  ye  town  sail  pay  twa  shillings  to  ye  knok  buying; 
also,  that  whoever  buys  skins,  wool,  hides,  or  quhite  claith  fra  unka  men 
of  the  pak,  sail  be  fined  sixpence  to  ye  knok. — B.  R. 

1464,  March  26. — It  is  statut  and  ordained  that  nane  pass  out  of  ye 
yetts  of  ye  town  to  buy  hides,  skins,  fut-fell  or  lamb-skins,  nor  yet  other 
goods  under  a  fine  of  eight  shillings. — B.  R. 

June  10. — Thomas  Henderson,  ye  miller,  made  burgess,  sail  pay  for 
his  freedom  threttie  shillings,  to  the  making  of  ye  butts. — B.  R. 

Placed    between    two   waters,    Peebles    has    been    somewhat 


celebrated  for  its  bridges — one  of  large  dimensions  across 
the  Tweed,  also  several  across  the  Eddleston  Water,  one 
of  which  has  communicated  a  name  to  the  Briggate.  The 
date  of  Tweed  bridge,  consisting  of  five  stone  arches,  has 
hitherto  baffled  investigation.  The  name  '  Rauf  del  Fount,' 
which  occurs  in  the  Ragman  Rolls  of  1296,  might  suggest 
that  this  lofty  edifice  was  erected  previous  to  that  period  ; 
for  we  cannot  imagine  that  Rauf's  post  was  at  any  of  the 
minor  Eddleston  Water  thoroughfares.  Independently  of  the 
fact,  that  few  stone  bridges  of  a  date  earlier  than  the  four- 
teenth century  are  found  in  Scotland,  we  have  ascertained 
with  tolerable  certainty,  from  the  Burgh  Records,  that  the 
existing  stone  bridge  across  the  Tweed  at  Peebles  was  not 
constructed  earlier  than  the  latter  part  of  the  fifteenth  century. 
According  to  local  tradition,  the  bridge  is  said  to  have  been 
built  at  the  cost  of  two  ladies  of  Neidpath,  but  who  these  were 
is  not  reported.  The  work  is  evidently  too  vast  for  private 
benevolence,  and  we  must  consider  it  to  have  been  a  public 
undertaking,  to  which  the  inhabitants  of  the  town  materially 
contributed  in  money,  labour,  and  materials.  As  the  bridge  is 
dressed  with  sandstone,  which,  along  with  the  lime  for  the  whole 
structure,  must  have  been  brought  by  an  imperfect  means  of 
conveyance  from  a  distance  of  sixteen  to  eighteen  miles,  the 
costliness  and  the  time  required  to  complete  the  building  can 
easily  be  understood.  As  a  work  of  importance  to  the  whole 
upper  section  of  the  Tweed,  no  pains  have  evidently  been 
spared  to  construct  it  according  to  those  strict  rules  of  art  for 
which  the  masons  of  past  times  gained  their  peculiar  distinction. 


Fig.  19. — Mason-marks  on  Tweed  Bridge. 

On  examining  the  squared  blocks  of  sandstone  composing  the 
piers,  they  are  seen  to  be  indented  with  the  species  of  marks 
which,  from  time  immemorial,  have  been  in  use  by  members 
of  the  masonic  fraternity,  for  the  purpose  of  respectively 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  8 1 

identifying  their  work.  Though  several  centuries  old,  the 
mason-marks  are  so  sharp  and  well  defined  as  to  be  readily 
recognisable.  They  are  usually  about  three  inches  in  length, 
and  their  character  will  be  understood  from  the  few  specimens 
in  the  preceding  cut 

In  modern  times  (1834),  the  bridge  has  been  widened  and 
extended,  but  the  ancient  portion  remains  to  attest  the  original 
dimensions  and  durable  character  of  the  structure.  Previous  to 
the  alterations,  the  bridge  was  provided  with  recesses  over  the 
piers,  where  foot-passengers  could  take  refuge  to  avoid  collision 
with  cattle  or  carriages.  Over  one  of  the  middle  piers — the 
second  from  the  town — there  were  indications  of  the  site  of 
a  keeper's  dwelling,  to  which  had  been  attached  a  toll-house 
and  gate.  Here  may  have  been  the  residence  of  Rauf  del  Fount's 
successors  in  office — a  situation  more  picturesque  than  con- 
venient, but  the  inhabitants  could  have  had  little  to  fear  from 
the  attack  of  southern  invaders,  for  their  outpost  was  within  hail 
of  the  castle  of  Peebles  and  its  vigilant  men-at-arms. 

The  first  notice  we  have  of  the  bridge  being  in  hand,  is  that 
of  the  appointment  of  seven  individuals,  styled  '  Bryg-masters/ 
who  are  authorised  to  exact  a  certain  amount  of  labour  from 
each  householder. 

1465,  Feb.  2. — This  day  were  chosen  Bryg-masters,  Master  Thomas 
of  Cockburn,  S.  Richard  Purdy,  William  Smayll,  John  Mador,  Die.  Cant, 
James  Gibson,  and  Wyll  of  Balcaskie.  The  same  day,  ye  nychbours 
consented  that  what  tyme  the  bryg  masters  chargit  them  to  cum  to  work 
to  ye  bryg,  they  sail  cum,  under  the  payn  of  a  man's  day's  work,  and 
that  is  sixpence  [a  halfpenny  sterling]. — B.  R. 

1467,  Jan.  1 8. — The  inquest  fand  that  the  land  lyand  upon  ye  coignie 
neist  ye  south  half  of  S.  John  Hotson's  land,  aued  yeirly  to  ye  Rood 
licht  a  pund  of  walx. — B.  R. 

May  9. — The  haill  toun  consentit  that  what  tyme  that  ane  be  warnit 
to  cum  to  work  at  ye  bryg,  and  cums  not,  sail  pay  for  that  day  four- 
pence,  and  this  not  to  be  forgiven. — B.  R. 

1468,  Jan.  1 6. — It  is  ordained  that  what  nychbour  resets  players  at 
ye  dice,  either  hazart  or  rafell,  in  his  hous,  either  be  nicht  or  day,  there 
sail  be  tane  off  ye  man  that  ye  hous  belangs  to,  five  shillings  withouten 
favour,  to  ye  bryg  wark. — B.  R. 



1468,  Oct.  3. — The  bailies  ordain  that  what  sum  falls  in  an  unlaw  sail 
be  givin  to  ye  bryg,  and  this  sail  be  withouten   favour.      Item,  It  is 
ordained  for  the  keepin  of  the  toun  fra  the  pestilans,  that  the  four  ports 
of  ye  toun  sail  be  closit,  and  kept  daily  by  a  man  for  ilk  yett,  under 
payn  of  eight  shillings  to  him  yt  fails,  and   the   eight  shillings  to  be 
given  to  ye  bryg.     Item,  It  is  ordained  that  na  man  sail  gang  to  Edin- 
burgh, under  the  payn  of  banishment  of  the  toun  for  a  yeir,  but  by  the 
leave  of  these  six  men,  William  of  Peebles,  John    Mador,   Patrik  of 
Temple,  Wyl.  Smayll,  John  Blaklok,  and  Thomas  Morthosen.     Item,  It 
is  ordained  that  na  man  sail  harbour  nor  receive  no  man  but  with  the 
leave  of  the  quartermasters  ;  and  that  quarter  where  the  pest  cums,  the 
quartermasters  to  be  advysed  and  counsellet  with  the  flesh  prysers. — B.  R. 

1469,  May  20. — The  quhilk  day,  Simon  Patenson  made  burgess,  and 
sail  make  for  his  freedom  the  dyke  of  ye  Venlaw  down  to  ye  east  neuk. 
[On  other  new-made  burgesses  similar  obligations  are  laid  ;  one  is  to 
pay  ten  shillings,  the  value  of  six  of  which  to  be  taken  in  trees  to  the 
'  yetts  of  ye  Venlaw.'] — B.  K. 

1470,  Oct.  15. — The  inquest  statut  and  ordain  that  na  swine  sail  be 
allowed  to  run  about  to  na  man's  skaith,  under  payn  of  being  slauchterit 
wherever  they  be  overtaken. — B.  R. 

The  inquest  here  and  elsewhere  referred  to,  appears  to  have 
been  an  institution  separate  from  that  of  the  magistracy.  In  the 
records  it  is  often  called  the  'doussan,'  or 'doussain/  and  consisted 
of  from  nineteen  to  twenty-seven  persons,  elected  annually  at 
Michaelmas.  Immediately  after  their  election,  they  proceeded 
to  appoint  '  ale  tasters,'  and,  '  flesh  prysers,'  for  the  year,  and  to 
pass  regulations  respecting  trade  in  the  burgh.  For  a  number  of 
years  about  this  period,  '  George  of  Elphynston '  heads  the  list 
of  the  '  doussan.' 

1471,  Michaelmas. — The  inquest   statuts  that  wheat  be  sold  at  ten 
shillings,  malt  at  nine  and  eight  shillings  and  thereby.     The  ale  to  be 
sold  at  tenpence  ye  gallon  ye  best,  and  eightpence  ye  cheapest,  if  it  be 
priced  be  ye  ale  tasters,  and  he  yt  keeps  not  price  sail  pay  eight  shillings. 
Item,  Wheat,  malt,  and  meal  that  cums  to  ye  mercat  on  Saturday,  sail 
bycle  twal  hours,  under  payn  of  eight  shillings.    Item,  Nayther  fysh,  flesh, 
butter,  cheese,  salt,  nor  uther  guids  that  cums  to  mercat,  sail  be  sold 
only  at  ye  cors  ;  and  na  man  to  tak  upon  hand  to  house  sic  like  guids 
in  prejudice  and  skaithing  of  yc  burgh,  under  payn  of  eight  shillings  ; 
and  na  man  nor  woman  to  take  upon  hand  to  reset  guids  till  ye  toun  be 
served,  under  ye  payn  of  eight  shillings,  and  ye  guids  escheat.     Item, 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  83 

That  na  middens  lie  upon  ye  gait  langer  than  eight  days,  under  payn  of 
eight  shillings.  Item,  That  ilk  man  keip  neighbourhood  in  garden, 
principally  fore  front  and  headyard,  under  payn  of  eight  shillings.  [This 
probably  meant  that  nothing  offensive  should  accumulate  in  gardens.] 
Item,  It  is  statuted  that  what  woman  flytes,  fechts,  sclanders  ony  guid 
man's  wives  or  dochters  within  ye  burgh,  they  sail  be  led  to  ye  four  yetts 
of  ye  toun  by  ye  sergeants,  having  hanging  on  thair  shoulder  twa  stanes 
in  ane  iron  chain  or  in  ane  widdy. — B.  R. 

One  of  the  ancient  ranges  of  common  belonging  to  Peebles 
was  Caidmuir,  a  hill  about  a  mile  distant  on  the  south-west.  On 
the  1 5th  of  June  1472,  as  appears  by  the  records,  the  inhabitants 
decided  on  assigning  the  right  of  common  in  soums  or  shares  to 
burgesses  and  widows  of  burgesses,  each  to  have  a  proportionate 
amount  of  grazing  for  cows — an  arrangement  which,  under  modi- 
fications, subsisted  until  the  disposal  of  Caidmuir  in  recent 

Registers  of  sasines  of  small  properties  in  the  burgh,  resigned 
towards  the  support  of  altars  and  chapels,  are  of  common 
occurrence  in  the  records.  The  following  is  one  of  the  more 
interesting  notices  of  this  kind  : 

1473,  Feb.  12. — William  of  Peblis,  burgess  of  that  ilk,  with  earth  and 
stane  has  resigned,  from  him  and  his  heirs  for  ever,  his  fore  land,  under 
and  aboou,  with  half  ane  on  ye  south  syde,  lyand  on  ye  Cunzie  neist 
ye  nor  gait,  and  between  ye  lave  of  ye  said  William  his  land  on  ye  south 
syde,  for  his  saul,  his  wyfis  saul,  his  bairnis  sauls,  and  principally  for  all 
ye  sauls  yt  ye  said  William  has  had  ony  guds  wrangeously  of  ony  means 
be  buying  or  selling,  or  ony  interchanging,  and  for  all  Christian  sauls, 
[such  earth  and  stone  being  now  placed]  in  John  Dickyson's  hand,  bailie 
in  ye  said  burgh,  and  thair  incontinentlie  ye  said  bailie  laid  that  earth 
and  stane  in  ye  hands  of  Maister  Gilbert  Rerik,  procurator  consrut  and 
maid  for  Sanct  Leonard  his  Hospital,  and  in  ye  name  of  puir  folk,  for 
thair  supply  and  help,  that  is  ordained  to  be  in  ye  said  hospital. — B.  R. 

1475,  Nov.  13. — Was  maid  burgess  Walter  Fylder,  and  he  sail  give  to 
ye  supply  of  ye  bryg  wark  ye  winning  of  eight  lade  of  stanes.     [Several 
others  who  are  made  burgesses  shortly  afterwards,  pledge  themselves  to 
supply  loads  of  stones  for  the  bridge.] — B.  R. 

1476,  Feb.  3. — Compeared  George  of  Elphynston  at  ye  tolbooth  of 
ye  burgh,  and  stated  to  ye  haill  court,  that  Sanct  James  his  altar  in 
ye  hie  kirk  had  na  means  to  uphald  a  chaplain.      [It  is  ordered  that  the 


mails  or  rents  of  a  common  on  Dalitho  shall,  for  the  welfare  of  the 
burgh,  be  appropriated  for  ever  to  the  support  of  a  chaplain  to  serve  at 
the  altar  mentioned.] — B.  R. 

1478,  May  1 8. — John  Richardson  and  Marion  his  spouse  resigned 
eight  shillings  of  annual  rent  to  S.  Andrew  Younger,  chaplain,  and  his 
successors  singing  at  our  lady's  altar  in  ye  parish  kirk  of  Stobo,  for 
ye  saul  of  S.  Andrew  Bower  and  all  Christian  sauls. — B.  R. 

1480,  July  23. — George  of  Elphynston,  Herbert  of  Tweedie,  and 
Patrick  Dickyson,  bailies,  with  consent  of  ye  hail  communitie,  passit  to 
ye  mercat  cors,  and  gave  heritable  sasine  and  possession  of  thirteen 
shillings  and  fourpence  of  annual  to  S.  William  Thomson,  chaplain,  and 
his  successors  that  sail  sing  mass  and  mak  service  at  ye  rood  altar  in 
Sanct  Andrew  his  kirk  of  Peblis,  in  ye  rood  loft,  to  be  paid  at  ye  twa 
terms  of  Whitsunday  and  Martinmas  ;  for  whilk  annual  ye  bailies  and 
communitie  bind  thair  common  gud  fra  thair  mills  and  multures,  to  pray 
for  ye  sauls  of  ye  said  William  Thomson,  his  father  his  saul,  his  motheris 
saul,  and  for  ye  prosperitie  and  weelfare  of  ye  said  burgh. — B.  R. 

1480,  May  20. — Was  maid  burgess  William  Bell,  and  his  freedom 
given  for  ye  bigging  of  ye  butts  between  ye  waters  in  ye  common  haugh, 
being  ye  first  butts  yt  ever  was  maid  in  yt  place. — B.  R. 

1486,  April  3. — Was  maid  burgess  Allan  Ewart,  and  he  sail  lay  a 
hundred  lade  of  stanes  to  ye  upholding  of  Tweed  brig. — B.  R, 

The  circumstance  of  any  one  undertaking  to  furnish  a  hundred 
loads  of  stones  in  requital  for  being  constituted  a  burgess  of 
Peebles,  shews  the  value  which  was  at  one  time  attached  to  this 
species  of  dignity.  The  position  of  burgess  or  freeman,  however, 
was  not  merely  honorary.  It  conferred  several  important 
privileges,  such  as  liberty  to  buy  and  sell  on  the  principles  of  a 
strict  corporation  monopoly,  the  right  to  pasture  horses  and 
cows  on  the  town's  common  lands,  also  the  right  to  dig  for  fuel 
in  several  peat-mosses  belonging  to  the  community.  As  installa- 
tion in  this  enviable  position  was  coveted  and  well  paid  for,  so 
was  deprivation  of  freedom  a  matter  of  serious  concern,  for  it 
amounted  to  civic  ruin,  if  not  absolute  exile  and  irreparable 
contumely.  On  being  made  burgess,  there  was  given  a  ticket  or 
diploma  of  membership,  which,  as  we  learn  from  sundry  notices, 
was  taken  away  and  publicly  torn  on  the  loss  of  freedom — a 
ceremony  analogous  to  that  of  trailing  in  the  dust  the  pennon  of 
a  knight  who  had  the  misfortune  to  suffer  degradation  by 


command  of  the  sovereign.  From  the  entry  in  the  town-books 
respecting  the  membership  of  Allan  Ewart,  it  is  seen  that 
Tweed  bridge  was  not  completed  after  a  lapse  of  twenty  years, 
and  we  are  unable  to  say  when  this  great  work  was  finished  ; 
for  the  Burgh  Records  break  off  in  1486,  and  suffer  a  blank 
until  1650,  all  the  volumes  applicable  to  the  long  interval  being 
unfortunately  lost. 

According  to  the  accounts  of  historians,  James  III.,  who  is 
known  to  have  visited  Peebles,  indiscreetly  shunned  the  society 
of  his  nobles,  and  associated  with  men  noted  for  their  skill  in 
architecture,  music,  and  other  elegant  arts,  but  devoid  of  that 
high  birth  which  should  alone  have  recommended  them  to  the 
notice  of  royalty.  As  the  barons  of  that  age  were  by  no  means 
remarkable  for  refinement,  the  charge  against  James,  who  paid 
for  his  indiscretion  by  his  life,  may  perhaps  admit  of  some  quali- 
fication. Be  this  as  it  may,  one  of  the  artists,  for  whom  the 
unfortunate  king  entertained  a  particular  friendship,  was  Dr 
William  Rogers,  who  has  been  described  as  an  eminent  musician, 
possessing  a  celebrity  beyond  the  bounds  of  Scotland.  Pleased 
with  Dr  Rogers's  services,  and  heedless  of  offending  a  crowd 
of  expectant  barons,  the  king  conferred  upon  him  all  and  whole 
the  lands  of  Traquair,  which  had  lately  fallen  to  the  crown 
by  the  forfeiture  of  Robert  Lord  Boyd.1  The  gift  forms  the 
subject  of  a  charter  under  the  Great  Seal,  dated  November  29, 
1469,  wherein  it  is  stated  that  the  lands  were  given  to  Rogers 
and  his  heirs  for  his  faithful  and  commendable  services.  In  the 
instrument  of  sasine  which  follows,  the  king  describes  Rogers  as 
scutifero  mio  familiari — literally,  '  my  domestic  shield-bearer,' 
but  by  a  free  interpretation,  my  friend  or  attendant. 

Dr  Rogers  was  proprietor  of  the  lands  of  Traquair  for  upwards 
of  nine  years,  and  then  he  disposed  of  them  in  a  way  as  remark- 
able as  that  by  which  he  had  obtained  possession.  On  the  iQth 
of  September  1478,  he  executed  a  notarial  instrument  of  sale  of 
the  lands  and  barony  of  Traquair,  in  favour  of  James  Stewart, 

1  Traquair  Papers. 


Earl  of  Buchan,  uncle  to  the  king,  and  Warden  of  the  Middle 
Marches.  The  entire  estate  was  disposed  of  at  the  price  of  70 
merks  Scots  (£3,  i$s.  lod.  sterling),  and  for  ease  of  settlement, 
'40  merks  are  to  be  paid  at  Martinmas,  next  ensuing,  and  30 
merks  eight  days  before  Christmas,  1479.'*  Neither  the  gift  of 
the  lands  of  Traquair  to  Rogers,  nor  his  disposal  of  them  in  the 
manner  just  described,  has  ever  before  been  adverted  to.  The 
usual  account  leaves  out  Rogers  altogether,  and  makes  it  appear 
that  the  estate  was  directly  gifted  by  James  III.  to  his  uncle,  on 
the  fall  of  the  Boyds. 

What  were  the  circumstances  which  moved  the  accomplished 
scutifero  to  dispose  of,  for  a  sum  less  in  value  than  a  five-pound 
note,  an  extensive  barony  now  worth  five  thousand  a  year,  will 
never  be  known  in  this  world  ;  nor  is  there  any  chance  'of  our 
learning  why  the  noble,  and,  as  it  proved,  ungrateful  purchaser 
was  so  singularly  short  of  cash  that  he  could  not  pay  down 
the  price  in  ready  money,  and  required  more  than  a  year's 
credit  for  a  sum  equal  to  about  a  guinea  and  a  half.  Allowing 
that  the  king  may  have  induced  Dr  Rogers,  by  some  fresh  act  of 
munificence,  to  sell  Traquair  on  the  easy  terms  now  mentioned, 
the  bargain  was  clearly  a  good  one  for  the  Earl  of  Buchan,  and 
answered  a  particular  purpose,  which  consisted  in  his  bestowing 
the  lands  on  his  natural  son,  James  Stewart,  with  whose  descend- 
ants— raised  to  the  peerage  as  Lords  Stewart  of  Traquair,  1628 — 
the  estate  has  remained  till  our  own  times.  The  fate  of  Dr 
Rogers,  who  so  obligingly  relinquished  Traquair,  belongs  to 
general  history,  and  is  well  known.  In  1482,  while  James  III.  was 
on  an  expedition  southwards  with  a  large  army  to  check  the 
advance  of  an  English  force,  a  band  of  nobles,  among  whom  was 
the  Earl  of  Buchan,  conspired  to  seize  and  put  to  death  the 
king's  favourite  attendants.  First,  they  secured  Thomas  Coch- 
rane,  an  architect,  lately  created  Earl  of  Mar,  and  afterwards  Dr 
Rogers,  with  William  Hommil,  and  several  others,  and  without 
legal  form  hurriedly  hanged  the  whole  on  the  bridge  of  Lauder — 

1  Traquair  Papers. 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  8/ 

one  of  the  most  savage  and  least  excusable  acts  in  an  age  which 
knew  little  of  either  justice  or  mercy. 

It  is  to  the  reign  of  James  III.  that  may  most  properly  be 
assigned  the  authorship  of  that  literary  curiosity,  The  Tales  of 
the  Thrie  Pricstis  of  Peebles,  a  tract  in  verse,  which  has  been 
reprinted  from  an  old  and  scarce  edition  by  Pinkerton.1  By  some, 
the  date  of  the  Tales  has  been  imputed  to  the  reign  of  James  V., 
but,  as  noticed  by  Pinkerton,  the  work  more  probably  belongs 
to  a  period  anterior  to  1491,  for  it  bears  an  allusion  to  one  of  the 
kingdoms  of  Spain  being  still  heathen  ;  and  such  was  the  case 
until  the  conquest  of  Granada  by  Ferdinand  and  Isabella  in  the 
above  year.  Of  its  author,  nothing  is  known.  The  tales  are 
of  a  jocose  and  moral  character,  touching  on  the  vices  of  the 
age,  and  more  particularly  those  failings  of  the  clergy  which  fifty 
years  later  provoked  the  acute  satire  of  Sir  David  Lindsay.  The 
poem — if  we  may  so  call  it — opens  with  an  account  of  a  tavern 
scene  in  Peebles,  where  three  priests  went  to  enjoy  themselves 
over  roast  capons  and  other  agreeable  messes,  along  with  a 
reasonable  allowance  of  ale,  to  say  nothing  of  much  laughter  and 
pleasant  conversation,  as  befitted  jolly  friars  enjoying  a  holiday. 
A  short  specimen  of  this  now  little-known  production  may 
perhaps  be  acceptable.  It  begins  as  follows  : 

In  Peblis  town  sum  tyrae,  as  I  heard  tell, 

The  formest  day  of  Februare,  befell 

Thrie  priests  went  unto  collatioun, 

Into  ane  privie  place  of  the  said  toun  ; 

Quhair  that  thay  sat,  richt  soft  and  unfute  sair  ;'- 

Thay  luifit3  not  na  rangald4  nor  repair  :5 

And,  gif  I  sail  the  suith  reckin  and  say, 

I  traist  it  was  upon  Sanct  Bryd's  day ; 

Quhair  that  thay  sat,  full  easily  and  soft ; 

With  monie  lowd  lauchter  upon  loft. 

And,  wit  ye  weil,  thir  thrie  thay  maid  gude  cheir  ; 

To  them  thair  was  na  dainteis  than  too  deir  : 

1  Scottish  Poems  reprinted  from  Scarce  Editions.     Collected  by  John   Pinkerton. 
London,  1792  ;  3  vols.  12  mo. 
*  Not  footsore.  3  Loved.  4  Wrangling.  fi  Crowd. 


With  thrie  fed  capons  on  a  speit  with  creische,1 
With  monie  uthir  sindrie  dyvers  meis.2 
And  them  to  serve  thay  had  nocht  hot  a  boy ; 
Fra  cumpanie  thay  keipit  them  sa  coy, 
Thay  lufit  nocht  with  ladry,3  nor  with  lown,4 
Nor  with  trumpours5  to  travel  throw  the  town  ; 
Both  with  themself  quhat  thay  wald  tel  or  crak  ; 
Umquhyle6  sadlie  ;  umquhyle  jangle7  and  jak  ;8 
Thus  sat  thir  thrie  besyde  ane  felloun9  fyre, 
Quhil  thair  capons  war  roistit  lim  and  lyre.10 
Befoir  them  was  sone  set  a  Roundel u  bricht, 
And  with  ane  clene  claith,  finelie  dicht,12 
It  was  ouirset ;  and  on  it  breid  was  laid. 
The  eldest  than  began  the  grace,  and  said, 
And  blissit  the  breid  with  Benedicite, 
With  Dominus  Amen,  sa  mot13  I  the. 

Having  commenced  their  collation,  and  'drunken  about  a  quarte/ 
one  of  the  priests,  Maister  John,  proposes  to  his  two  com- 
panions, Maister  Archibald  and  Maister  William,  to  tell  stones  : 
the  idea  is  highly  relished  ;  and  John  accordingly  begins  a  tale 
about  a  king  who  calls  lords,  clergy,  and  burgesses  before  him 
to  have  three  questions  answered.  The  first  question  which  gives 
concern  to  His  Majesty  is — 

Quhy  burges  bairnis  thryvis  not  to  'the  thrid  air ; 

or,  in  plain  English,  why  the  wealth  of  merchants  does  not  reach 
the  third  heir  or  generation.  A  sagacious  clerk  undertakes  to 
explain  this  remarkable  circumstance,  and  the  way  he  does  so 
embodies  perhaps  the  cleverest  part  of  the  poem,  although  his 
account  of  the  matter  is  nothing  new — the  young  begin  to  live 
as  their  fathers  leave  off,  instead  of  commencing  humbly  and 
working  diligently  in  the  manner  by  which  fortune  is  alone 
reached.  Hear  Father  John  on  the  subject : 

This  questioun  declair  ful  weill  I  can  : 

That  thay  begin  not  quhair  thair  fathers  began  ; 

1  Grease.  2  Messes.     3  Rabble.  4  Worthless  person.       6  Vagabonds. 

6  Sometimes.  7  Prattle.  8  Spend  time  idly.  9  Fierce.  10  Soft  and  eatable  flesh. 
11  A  round  table.  12  Decked.  13  Word. 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  89 

Bot,  with  ane  heily  hart,  baith  cloft  and  derft,1 
Thay  ay  begin  quhair  that  thair  fathers  left. 
Of  this  mater  largelie  to  speik  mair, 
Quhy  that  thay  thryve  not  to  the  thrid  air  ; 
Becaus  thair  fathers  purelie 2  can  begin, 
With  hap,3  and  halfpenny,  and  a  lamb's  skin  ; 
And  purelie  ran  fra  toun  to  toun  on  feit ; 
And  than  richt  oft  wetshod,  weirie,  and  weit 
Quhilk  at  the  last,  of  mony  smals,  couth  mak,4 
This  bonie  pedder5  ane  gude  fute  pak.6 
At  ilkane7  fair  this  chapman  ay  was  fund  ; 
Quhil8  that  his  pak  was  wirth  fourtie  pund. 
To  beir  his  pak,  quhen  that  he  feillit  force,9 
He  bocht  ful  sone  ane  mekil  stalwart  hors. 
And  at  last  so  worthelie  up  wan, 
He  bocht  ane  cart  to  carie  pot  and  pan  ; 
Baith  Flanders  coffers,  with  counters  and  kist ; 
He  wox  a  grand  rich  man  or  onie  wist. 
And  syne  unto  the  town,  to  sel  and  by, 
He  held  a  chop10  to  sel  his  chaffery." 
Than  bocht  he  wol,12  and  wyselie  couth  it  wey.13 
And  efter  that  sone  saylit  he  the  sey  ; u 
Than  cum  he  hame  a  very  potent  man, 
And  spousit  syne  a  mychtie  wyfe  richt  than. 
He  sailit  ouer  the  sey  sa  oft  and  oft, 
Quhil  at  the  last  ane  semelie  ship  he  coft,15 
And  waxe  so  ful  of  worldis  welth  and  win,16 
His  hands  he  wish17  in  ane  silver  basin. 

The  prosperous  merchant  at  length  dies,  and  is  succeeded  by  his 
son,  but  '  lichtlie  cums  will  lichtlie  ga  ; '  he  takes  no  trouble  with 
his  business,  wears  rings  on  his  fingers, 

And  wil  not  heir,  for  very  shame  and  sin, 
That  ever  his  father  said  ane  sheip  skin ; 

and  so,  by  false  shame,  extravagance,  and  carelessness,  he  comes 
at  last  to  ruin  ;  affording  a  good  reason 

Quhy  burges  bairnis  thryve  not  to  the  thrid  air. 

1  Madly  and  boldly.  2  Poorly.  8  Cover  from  the  cold. 

*  Make  comfortable  by  small  gatherings,  6  Pedler.  8  A  pack  carried  on  foot. 

7  Every.         8  Until.         9  Lost  strength.  10  Shop.  n  Merchandise. 

"  Wool        u  Weiah.     »  Sea.  »  Bought  "  Delight.       "  Washed. 


Passing  over  the  second  question,  which  refers  to  the  degener- 
acy of  men  of  might,  we  come  to  the  third  question  concerning 
the  clergy,  who  unaccountably  are  not  able  to  work  miraculous 
cures,  such  as  were  common  in  the  early  ages  of  the  church.  The 
explanation  that  follows  is  about  as  clever  a  sarcasm  as  any- 
thing said  by  Lindsay — there  is  no  longer  any  regard  to  purity 
of  living,  knowledge,  or  spiritual  graces — 

Sic  wickedness  this  world  is  within, 
That  symonie  is  countit  now  na  sin. 

Of  the  remainder  of  the  Three  Tales,  space  does  not  allow  us 
to  say  anything,  and  we  can  only  regret  that  the  genial  literary 
qualities  of  the  poem  are  lost  to  popular  acceptance  on  account 
of  its  antiquated  orthography. 

The  peaceful  reign  of  James  IV.  did  much  to  tranquillise  and 
improve  the  border  counties.  Peebles  received  a  confirmatory 
charter  from  the  king1  in  1506,  and  increasing  in  size,  its  eccle- 
siastical institutions  grew  in  dignity.  About  this  period,  we 
begin  to  observe  that  the  provost  and  bailies  of  the  town  were 
usually  proprietors  of  lands  in  the  neighbourhood,  and  they 
continued  to  be  so  till  comparatively  recent  times,  a  circumstance 
which  coincides  with  the  practice  among  the  old  county  gentry 
of  having  houses  in  Peebles,  where  they  resided  during  winter. 
Perhaps  the  plan  of  appointing  lairds  to  offices  of  trust  in  the 
burgh  was  of  some  special  value  in  an  age  when  education  had 
made  little  progress  among  the  trading  classes,  but  it  was 
attended  with  the  inconvenience  of  affording  fresh  causes  of  feud 
among  rival  families.  In  the  Register  of  the  Secret  Seal,  under 
date  February  18,  1508-9,  a  passport  is  granted  by  James  IV.  to 
one  of  these  high-class  bailies  in  the  following  terms — '  A  protec- 
tion and  respite  to  Patrick  Gillies  of  Glenkirk,  bailie  of  Peebles, 
who  passes  by  the  king's  licence  in  his  pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem 
and  other  parts,  for  him  and  his  wife,  bairns,  and  servants  of 
household,  and  respites  them  to  be  unattached  for  ony  manner 
of  action,  cause,  or  quarrel,  criminal  or  civil,  concerning  the 

Sec  Appendix. 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  9! 

king's  hieness,  or  ony  other  manner  of  person,  for  onything 
bygane,  unto  the  day  of  the  said  Patrick  his  voyage  taking,  and 
aye  and  until  he  return  and  come  hame  again,  and  forty  days 
thereafter,  he  being  in  life.'  Considering  the  reasons  which  at 
that  time  caused  persons  to  undertake  pilgrimages  to  Jerusalem, 
as  also  the  language  of  the  passport,  it  may  be  supposed  that 
the  present  was  a  journey  for  the  sake  of  expiating  a  homicide, 
which  pressed  heavily  on  the  bailie's  conscience. 

A  few  years  later,  we  have  the  record  of  another  act  of  piety 
characteristic  of  the  period.  On  the  7th  of  November  1510, 
Thomas  Balcasky,  burgess  of  Peebles,  son  and  heir  of  the  late 
Martin  Balcasky,  granted  a  charter  of  '  the  lands  of  Scottislandis 
with  pertinents  in  the  town  and  territory  of  Innerleithen,'  in 
favour  of  James  Stenhouse,  chaplain  of  the  altar  of  St  Martin  in 
the  parish  church  of  Peebles — in  honour  of  Almighty  God,  the 
Blessed  Mother,  St  Martin,  bishop  and  confessor,  and  all  saints, 
and  for  the  health  of  the  souls  of  James  IV.  and  Margaret  his 
queen,  and  the  souls  of  Martin  Balcasky  and  Christian  Murdison, 
parents  of  the  said  Thomas  ;  also  for  the  soul  of  the  said  Thomas, 
and  the  souls  of  his  brothers  and  sisters.  The  charter  is  given 
with  consent  of  Patrick  Stenhouse,  perpetual  chaplain  of  the 
chapel  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  at  the  west  end  of  the  High  Street 
of  Peebles,  superior  of  the  lands  of  Scottislandis.1 

Whether  in  this  charter,  the  souls  of  James  IV.  and  his  queen 
are  included  as  an  ordinary  act  of  loyalty  or  as  a  special  mark  of 
respect,  does  not  appear.  It  is,  at  least,  certain  that  James  was  a 
popular  monarch,  of  which  there  could  be  no  greater  proof  than 
the  large  number  of  his  subjects  who  followed  his  standard  to 
the  fatal  field  of  Flodden,  1513.  Among  these  were  many  of 
different  ranks  from  Peeblesshire,  nearly  all  of  whom  were  slain. 
History  and  private  record  preserve  to  us  the  names  of  several 
who  fell  on  this  occasion — John,  second  Lord  Hay  of  Yester, 
proprietor  of  Neidpath  ;  James  Stewart,  who  had  been  installed 
in  Traquair  by  his  father  the  Earl  of  Buchan  ;  John  Murray  of 
Blackbarony  ;8  and  Alexander  Lauder  of  Blyth.3 

1  Traquair  Papers.  '-'  1  )ouglas's  Peerage.  3  Skirling  Papers. 


The  disastrous  defeat  of  the  Scottish  army  at  Flodden,  by 
leaving  the  country  in  a  great  measure  unprotected,  gave  a  shock 
to  the  whole  border  district ;  and  following  the  general  example, 
Peebles  looked  to  the  strengthening  of  its  bastel-houses  and  its 
walls.  We  may  likewise  suppose  that  its  castle  was  put  in  a 
posture  of  defence  adequate  to  the  means  at  command  and  the 
importance  of  the  occasion.  Some  portions  of  the  fortifications 
reared  at  this  season  of  panic  are  still  seen  in  good  preservation 
on  the  eastern  and  least  defensible  side  of  the  burgh  ;  though 
it  must  be  allowed  that  the  walls  would  have  had  a  slender 
chance  of  preserving  the  town  had  the  English  thought  fit  to 
march  against  it.  The  adjoining  cut  (fig.  20)  shews  a  portion  of 
the  town-wall  as  it  still  exists  near  the  east  port. 

Fig.  20. — Town- wall  of  Peebles. 

Ensuing  on  the  battle  of  Flodden,  during   the   minority  of 
James  V.,  and  when 

The  Flowers  of  the  Forest  were  a'  wede  away, 

we  have  accounts  of  disturbances,  thefts,  and  slaughters,  aggra- 
vated beyond  precedent.  Douglas,  Earl  of  Angus,  who  married 
the  widow  of  James  IV.,  commanded  on  the  eastern  borders,  and 
for  a  time  retained  the  custody  of  the  young  king,  greatly  to  the 
popular  discontent.  After  his  accession  to  power,  James  V., 
with  the  resolute  spirit  of  a  sportsman,  hunted  down  the  vermin- 
like  freebooters  of  the  border.  Of  this  famous  expedition  against 
the  Scotts,  Elliots,  Armstrongs,  and  other  habitual  disturbers 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  93 

of  the  southern  counties,  the  following  account  is  given  by 
Lindsay : 

The  king  '  maid  ane  convention  at  Edinburgh  with  all  the 
lordis  and  barronis,  to  consult  how  he  might  best  stanch  the 
thieff  and  revis  [reiving]  within  his  realme,  and  to  caus  the 
commounes  to  lieve  in  peace  and  rest,  quhilk  lang  tyme  had 
beine  perturbed  befoir.  To  this  effect,  he  gave  charge  to  all 
carles,  lordis,  barronis,  frieholders,  and  gentlemen,  to  compeir  at 
Edinburgh  with  ane  monethis  victuall,  to  pas  with  the  king  to 
daunten  the  theivis  of  Tividaill  and  Annerdaill,  with  all  uther 
pairtes  of  the  realme,  also  the  king  desired  all  gentlemen  that 
had  doggis  that  war  guid,  to  bring  thame  with  thame  to  hunt  in 
the  saidis  boundis,  quhilk  the  most  pairt  of  the  noblemen  of  the 
Highlandis  did:  sic  as  the  carles  of  Huntlie,  Argyle,  and  Athole, 
who  brought  thair  deir  houndis  with  thame,  and  hunted  with  his 
majestic.  Thair  lordis,  with  many  other  lordis  and  gentlemen, 
to  the  number  of  tuelf  thousand  men,  assemblet  at  Edinburgh, 
and  thairfra  went  with  the  kingis  grace  to  Meggetland,  in  the 
quhilk  boundis  war  slaine  at  that  tyme  aughteine  scoir  of  deir. 
After  this  hunting,  the  king  hanged  Johne  Armstrong,  laird  of 

In  this  brief  narrative,  no  notice  is  taken  of  the  execution  of 
Piers  Cockburn  of  Henderland,  commemorated  in  the  well-known 
ballad,  the  Lament  of  tfie  Border  Widow?  but  as  that  tragical 
incident  is  mentioned  as  follows  by  another  historian,  there  seems 
no  proper  reason  to  doubt  its  occurrence  : 

1529. — The  27  of  July,  this  yeire,  the  king  causes  behead 
Cockburne  of  Henderland,  and  Adam  Scot,  the  chief  of  Limers 
and  broken  men  of  the  borders.8 

The  general  tradition  is  that  Piers  was  hanged  over  his  own 
gate,  and  not  beheaded,  but  the  mode  of  execution  is  of  little 

The  effect  of  James's  energetic  measures  was  a  fresh  interval 

1  The  Cronicla  of  Scotland,  by  Robert  Lindsay  of  Pitscotie,  vol.  i.  p.  341. 

*  Minstrelsy  of  the  Scottish  Border,  voL  iii.  p.  80. 

*  Historical  Works  of  Sir  Jama  Balfour,  voL  L  p.  260. 


of  tranquillity,  during  which  the  country  was  allowed  to  assume 
its  formerly  prosperous  aspect ;  but  all  was  undone  by  the  war 
that  broke  out  between  James  V.  and  his  uncle,  Henry  VIII. ,  in 
1 542,  and  which,  at  the  end  of  that  year,  caused  the  death  of  the 
unfortunate  Scottish  monarch.  The  infant  Mary  now  becomes 
queen,  and  the  outrages  committed  by  English  invaders  are  on  a 
stupendous  scale.  The  most  disastrous  of  these  forays  was  that 
conducted  by  Lord  Evers  and  Sir  Brian  Latoun,  during  1544.  A 
chronicler  mentions  that,  on  this  occasion,  there  were  burned  or 
destroyed,  within  the  Scottish  border,  as  many  as  192  towns, 
barns,  churches,  and  bastel-houses,  that  403  Scots  were  slain,  and 
816  taken  prisoners,  also  that  upwards  of  1000  cattle  and  12,000 
sheep  were  carried  off.  Next  year,  Lord  Evers  and  Latoun  again 
crossed  the  border,  on  which  occasion  they  were  met  by  Archi- 
bald Douglas,  Earl  of  Angus,  who  had  lately  returned  from 
exile,  and  been  placed  at  the  head  of  a  large  army.  Now  (1545) 
was  fought  the  celebrated  battle  of  Ancrum  Moor.  Angus's 
army,  as  was  then  the  usage  in  Scotland,  was  composed  chiefly 
of  the  feudatories  of  the  crown  and  their  retainers,  who  formed  a 
militia  ready  at  call  on  emergencies.  The  right  to  summon  the 
lieges  to  arms  lay  with  the  sovereign,  who,  through  the  Lords  of 
the  Privy  Council,  issued  a  proclamation  or  ordinance  for  the 
purpose.  A  notice  of  this  fact  leads  to  the  commencement  of 
our  extracts  from  the  Records  of  the  Privy  or  Secret  Council, 
and  other  authorities. 

1546,  May  3. — The  Lords  of  Council,  for  resistance  of  thevis  and 
tratouris  that  daylie  and  nichtly  mak  revis,  slauchters,  murthers,  and 
oppressions  upon  our  Soveraine  Ladyis  lieges,  statute  and  ordain  that 
various  noblemen  and  gentlemen,  with  their  retainers,  sail  be  posted  in 
Galloway,  Nithsdale,  &c.  Item,  My  Lord  of  Angus  sail  ly  upon  Tweed, 
and  keep  betwix  Harystane  and  Peebles  Est  and  Wast,  and  with  him 
the  Ouir  Ward  of  Clydesdale  and  gentlemen  of  Tweeddale,  and  that 
letters  be  directed  to  all  and  sundrie  personis  to  keep  the  above  day. — 
P.  C.  R. 

Until  this  time  Peeblesshire  has  been  pictured  as  suffering 
from  ruthlessly  conducted  border  incursions,  against  which  its 
castles  and  bastel-houses  did  not  always  afford  a  sufficient 



protection.  To  these  public  disasters  are  now  to  be  added  the 
feuds  which,  during  a  lengthened  period,  in  defiance  of  law  and 
common  humanity,  were  continually  breaking  out  among  the 
gentry  of  the  county.  Few  appear  to  have  been  exempted  from 
complicity  as  actors  or  abettors  in  these  inveterate  quarrels. 
The  Stewarts,  Horsburghs,  and  Govans  in  the  east ;  the  Hays  in 
the  more  central  parts  of  the  shire  ;  the  Burnetts,  Naesmyths, 
Tweedies,  Veitches,  Geddeses,  Crightons,  and  Porteouses  in  the 
west ;  and  the  Hurrays,  Hamiltons,  and  Douglases  in  the 
north,  were  all  less  or  more  belligerents  over  whom  the  govern- 
ment of  the  day  was  able  to  exercise  but  a  feeble  control. 
Among  all  who  distinguished  themselves  by  these  family 
dissensions,  no  clan  attained  to  such  pre-eminence  as  the 

Fig.  21. — Drummelzier  Castle  in  ruins. 

Tweedies.  This  ancient  sept  had  for  its  chief  Tweedy  of  Drum- 
melzier, who  through  successive  generations  occupied  a  particu- 
larly strong  feudal  stronghold,  which  crowned  a  rocky  peninsula 
on  the  south  bank  of  the  Tweed.  Leaving  an  account  of  Drum- 
melzier Castle  to  be  included  in  our  topographical  notices,  it  is 
enough  here  to  say,  that,  as  may  still  be  observed  from  its 


shattered  remains,  it  was  a  bulky  tower  of  four  stories  in  height, 
provided  from  foundation  to  bartisan  with  small  barred  windows, 
each  having  a  convenient  shot-hole,  whence  a  hackbut  could 
promptly  deliver  its  deadly  contents  on  the  approach  of  a  sus- 
picious visitor.  Here  the  chieftain  of  the  clan  held  his  court, 
and  in  league  with  the  Tweedies  of  Dreva,  Wrae,  Stanhope,  and 
Frude,  and  others  who  owed  him  allegiance,  never  scrupled  to 
levy  war  and  inflict  vengeance  on  his  unfortunate  neighbours, 
the  Veitches  of  Dawick  and  the  Geddeses  of  Rachan,  against 
whom  the  whole  race  of  Tweedy  seem  to  have  entertained  an 
unquenchable  hatred.  The  Tweedies  come  first  prominently 
into  notice  as  disturbers  of  the  peace  in  the  above  'year>  I  S4^» 
from  which  time,  as  will  be  seen  by  our  extracts,  their  deeds 
receive  frequent  attention  from  the  Privy  Council. 

June  n. — The  quhilk  day  my  Lord  Governour  and  Lordis  of  Counsel 
ordain  letters  to  be  direct  to  relax  James  Tuedy  of  Drummelzier  fra  the 
process  of  the  horns,1  led  upon  him  for  non-compliance  befor  our  Sove- 
rane  Ladyis  justice,  to  underly  the  laws  for  certaine  crimes  inputit  to 
him,  unto  the  third  of  July  nixt — and  William  Tuedy,  son  of  the  said 
James,  hes  promisit  to  cause  his  father  to  answer  to  the  summonds 
raisit  by  the  said  Lord  agains  him  befor  the  Lordis  of  Sessioun  upon 
Mononday  the  28  June  instant ;  and  David  Hamilton  of  Preston  is 
become  caution  and  suretie  that  the  said  James  Tuedy  sail  hold  firm  all 
things  that  the  said  William  hes  promisit  in  his  name  in  the  premises. — 
P.  C.  R. 

For  several  years  during  the  minority  of  Mary,  various  expedi- 
tions were  despatched  to  the  border  counties  to  allay  disturb- 
ances and  expel  bodies  of  English  invaders.  There  was  a 
muster  for  this  purpose  at  Peebles  on  the  loth  of  July  1547,  the 
host  being  to  pass  forward  '  for  asseiging  and  recovering  the 
house  of  Langhup,'  then  in  possession  of  the  English ;  and  in 
connection  with  this  affair  we  learn  that  the  Earl  of  Huntly  was 
to  have  the  goods  forfeited  by  the  Earl  of  Caithness  and  other 
Caithness  gentry  for  '  their  byding  at  hame  fra  this  host  and 
raid  ; ' 2  it  thus  appearing  that  the  people  of  the  very  northern 

1  A  process  of  being  denounced  rebel  by  the  blast  of  a  horn. 
1  Records  of  Privy  Seal. 


extremity  of  the  kingdom  were  expected  to  traverse  the  whole 
length  of  it,  and  appear  in  arms,  when  the  public  affairs  required 
their  assistance. 

Connected  with  this  muster  at  Peebles  are  some  entries  in  the 
Lord  Treasurer's  Books : 

June  13  [1547]. — Movit  furth  of  Edr  to  Peblis,  and  left  thair  ye  tyme 
of  my  Lord  Governour  and  Quenes  passing  to  hunting,  quhilk  yairefter 
was  had  to  the  Langhope,  ane  Mozan  and  twa  Falcones  [artillery],  and 
for  1 8  horses,  8/.  14^. 

Item,  Feit  twa  horsis  quha  departit  with  pulder  and  bullattis  efter  the 
said  artalzere,  12$. 

1 2. — Item,  Letteris  of  proclamatioun  to  Renfrew  and  Irvene,  charging 
all  manner  of  men  to  meet  my  Lorde  Governour  in  Peblis,  to  ryde  upon 
the  thevis,  225. 

It  appears  from  other  entries  that  for  this  expedition  eight 
score  of  hired  soldiers  were  engaged ;  also  80  pioneers,  furnished 
with  mattocks,  shovels,  &c.  ;  likewise,  a  great  number  of  gadmen 
to  drive  the  artillery ;  and  all  set  out  at  the  proper  time, 
passing  southwards  by  Selkirk  and  Jedburgh.  This  affair,  it  will 
be  observed,  was  only  two  months  before  the  battle  of  Pinkie. 

1550,  April  30. — Dutho  Stewart  was  this  day  tried  before  the  Justi- 
ciary Court,  accused  as  art  and  part  in  the  slaughter  of  Thomas  Forester, 
burgess  of  Peebles.  He  was  convicted  and  beheaded.1 

1559,  Dec.  13. — There  is  a  respite  under  the  Privy  Seal  for  19  years 
to  '  James  Tuedy  of  Drummelzeour ;  James  Tuedy  of  Frude ;  Patrick, 
Williame,  and  Johne,  his  brotheris ;  and  Thomas  Tuedy,  alias  Lang 
Thome,  for  ye  cruell  slauchter  of  vmqle  William  Geddes,  son  and 
apperand  air  to  Charles  Geddes  of  Cuthilhall.' 

In  August  1560,  the  Roman  Catholic  forms  of  worship  were 
proscribed  by  law  throughout  the  kingdom,  and  the  Reformation 
effected.  The  whole  of  the  ancient  ecclesiastical  institutions  in 
and  about  Peebles  were  by  this  act  swept  away,  and  the  nume- 
rous body  of  clergy  connected  with  them  dispersed.  The 
abruptness  of  this  spiritual  revolution  here,  as  elsewhere,  affords 
matter  for  surprise  ;  nor,  indeed,  is  it  very  intelligible.  Such 
was  the  intensity  of  devotional  feeling  according  to  old  forms, 
that,  in  1543,  the  parish  church  of  St  Andrew  was  constituted  a 

1  Pitcairu's  Criminal  Trials. 


collegiate  church  by  John  Lord  Hay  of  Yester  and  the  munici- 
pal corporation  of  the  burgh.  It  was  endowed  for  a  provost,  ten 
prebends  or  officiating  priests,  and  ten  choristers.  The  altars  to 
which  the  priests  were  respectively  attached  were  :  St  Mary,  the 
Holy  Cross,  St  Michael  the  Arc-Angel,  St  Mary  Major,  St  John 
Baptist,  St  Mary  del  Geddes,  St  Andrew,  St  James,  St  Lawrence, 
and  St  Christopher.  But  to  this  list  of  ten,  usually  given,  there 
is  to  be  added  an  altar  dedicated  to  St  Martin.  Except  that 
some  of  the  old  endowments  fell  to  the  share  of  the  burgh, 
nothing  of  the  ancient  ecclesiastical  fabric  was  left  to  the  town 
but  the  bare  walls  of  the  church  of  St  Andrew,  the  Cross  Church, 
and  the  chapel  of  Our  Lady.  What  gives  a  certain  air  of  bur- 
lesque to  the  event  is  that,  long  after  the  Reformation,  law-deeds 
are  solemnly  executed,  transferring  endowments  for  services  at 
altars,  just  as  if  no  change  in  the  religious  system  had  taken 
place ;  while  those  who  are  to  perform  these  sacred  offices  affect 
to  call  themselves  chaplains.  Thus,  Thomas  Pringle  of  Milkiston, 
who  had  become  possessed  of  the  chaplaincy  of  St  Martin  in  the 
church  of  St  Andrew,  assigns  it  in  1576,  with  all  its  privileges,  to 
his  son  David,  who  henceforth  draws  the  emoluments  of  the 
office.  This  chaplaincy  is  finally  lost  sight  of  in  the  property  of 
the  Taits  of  Pirn.1 

Immediately  after  the  Reformation,  when  the  teinds  and 
other  revenues  of  the  church  were  appropriated  by  the  crown, 
nobility,  gentry,  and  burghs,  the  Protestant  clergy  were  so  ill 
provided  with  the  means  of  maintenance,  that  the  ecclesiastical 
polity  was  reduced  to  an  exceedingly  meagre  footing.  In  this 
emergency,  the  parochial  establishment  was  sustained  by  a 
system  of  ministers,  exhorters,  and  readers,  according  to  circum- 
stances. Some  parishes  had  a  minister,  who,  besides  preaching, 
administered  the  sacraments  ;  in  other  cases,  the  parishes  had 
exhorters,  only  qualified  to  preach  ;  and  in  a  third  class  of  cases, 
there  were  persons  who  only  read  the  Scriptures.  This  last 
inferior  order  of  functionaries  is  perpetuated  in  what  are  now 
termed  precentors.  There  exists  in  the  General  Register  House 

1  Traquair  Papers. 

JAMES   II.    TILL  JAMES  VI.  99 

at  Edinburgh  a  record  of  the  '  Names  of  Ministers,  Exhorters, 
and  Reidars,  with  their  Stipends,'  in  1567,  which  has  been 
printed  by  the  Maitland  Club.  From  this  document,  we  copy 
the  following  list  connected  with  Tweeddale,  and  from  it  will 
be  obtained  an  exact  view  of  the  ecclesiastical  condition  of  the 
county  shortly  after  the  Reformation. 

PEBLIS,      .         .     John  Dikesoun,  exhorter,  40  merkis. 

»       .        .          Maister  Thomas  Cranstoun,  minister,  and  to  minister 

the  sacr amends  to  the  haill  schyre,  200  merkis, 

Beltyn  1571. 

LYNTOUN,  .         .     Adam  Colquhoun,  exhorter,  261.  13*.  4//. 
NEWLANDIS,  .          Thomas   Patersoun,  reidar,  2o/.   13*.  4^.  ;  translatit 

to  Kirkurd,  Beltyn  1570. 

LYNE,        .        .     Patrick  Gryntoun,  reidar,  i3/.  6s.  8</. 
MENNAR,      .         Thomas  Purves,  reidar,  147.  6s.  %d. 
DRUMMELZAR,    .     Thomas  Bisset,  exhorter,  261.  ly.  $d. ;  and  20  merkis 
DAWYK,  mair  sen  Beltyn  1571,  becaus  he  servis  this  uther  kirk. 

GLENQUHORN,         George  Tod,   reidar,    i2/. ;   with  the   thryd   of  his 

pensionarie  extendand  to  4/.  8s.  lod. 

STOBO,       .         .     Thomas  Neilsoun,  exhorter,  26/.  13^.  ^d. 
TRAQUAIR,     .          Mr  Alexander  Tait,  reidar,  vicar  pensionar,  20  merkis ; 

with  his  awin  thryd  extendand  to  4/.  8s.  iod.,  with 

glebe  and  manse. 
KILBOCHO,          .     William  Porteous,  reidar,  i4/.  6s.  &d.  ;  with  the  thryd 

of  the  pensionarie  extendand  to  6  merkis. 
HOPKAILZO,  .          John  Bullo,  reidar,  147.  6s.  %d. 

BROUGHTON  and  )  ,,T  , .     ^     ,  . ,  , 

>  Walter  Tuedye.  exhorter,  261.  i  y.  40. 
DAWYK,      .      J 

ETTILSTOUN,  Mr  George  Hay,  minister  and  persoun,  the  thryd  of 

this  personage  and  Rathven,  alsweill  past  as  to  cum, 
extending  to  68/.  i6s.  %d. ;  i  chalder,  i  boll,  &c., 
beir  for  Rathven  ;  4  chalders,  9  bollis,  &c.,  of  meill 
for  Ettilstoun — Providing  alwayes  he  insist  dili- 
gentlie  in  the  ministerie,  and  als  caus  his  kirk, 
quhar  he  makis  not  continual  residence,  to  be 
sufficientlie  servet,  and  that  he  charge  the  kirk  with 
na  farther  stipend. 

KIRKURDE,        .     Thomas  Patersoun,  reidar,  2o/.,  Beltyn  1570. 

HENDERLETHANE,  Patrick  Sanderson,  exhorter,  io/.  ;  with  the  thryd  of 
the  vicarage  extending  to  22/.,  Beltyn  1571- 

ST  BRYDE'S  KIRK,  Alexander  Tait,  exhorter,  2o/.,  Beltyn  1571. 


The  sums  mentioned  in  the  above  tabular  statement  being  in 
Scots  money,  it  appears  that,  reckoned  in  modern  currency,  the 
ecclesiastical  revenue  for  the  entire  county  in  1567  amounted  to 
no  more  than  £44,  i$s-  $d-,  exclusive  of  a  quantity  of  meal,  and 
in  one  instance  a  manse  and  glebe — a  sorrowful  contrast  to  the 
munificent  endowments  for  spiritual  purposes  which  existed  only 
seven  years  previously. 

Peeblesshire  happens  to  be  in  a  slight  degree  mixed  up 
with  the  tragical  histories  of  Darnley  and  Rizzio.  Buchanan 
mentions  that  in  order  to  enjoy  uninterruptedly  the  society  of 
Rizzio,  Mary  sent  Darnley  to  Peebles,  December  1565.  Darnley, 
he  says,  '  in  a  very  sharp  winter  was  sent  to  Pebly,  with  a 
small  retinue,  far  beneath  the  dignity  of  some  private  persons, 
for  a  prey  rather  than  recreation.  At  the  same  time,  there  fell 
such  a  quantity  of  snow,  that  the  place  not  being  very  plentiful, 
and  besides  being  infested  with  thieves,  he  that  was  always  bred 
up  at  court,  and  used  to  a  liberal  diet,  was  in  great  hazard  of 
wanting  necessaries,  unless  the  Bishop  of  the  Orcades  had 
casually  come  hither  ;  for  he,  knowing  the  scarcity  of  the  place, 
brought  some  wine  and  other  provisions  for  his  use.' 1 

There  is  ignorance  if  not  misrepresentation  in  this  statement.  As 
Peebles  at  this  period  was  often  a  centre  for  military  gatherings, 
and  was  occupied  by  county  gentry  as  their  winter  residences, 
it  cannot  be  supposed  that  Darnley  should  have  experienced  any 
serious  inconvenience  as  regards  the  ordinary  comforts  of  life. 
We  may,  however,  allow  Miss  Strickland  to  repel  the  calumny: 

'  Soon  after  Christmas,  Darnley,  in  sullen  mood  with  his 
consort  for  withholding  what  she  had  no  power  to  confer — the 
crown-matrimonial  of  Scotland — withdrew  himself  from  her 
conjugal  society,  and  went  into  Peeblesshire,  with  a  few  of  his 
intimate  associates,  in  quest  of  amusement  more  to  his  taste 
than  the  princely  pleasures  of  Holyrood.  Buchanan  asserts  that 
this  was  a  compulsory  absence  on  the  part  of  Darnley,  pretending 
that  "  he  was  sent  there  by  the  queen  with  a  very  small 

1  Buchanan's  History  of  Scotland,  vol.  ii.  p.  307  ;  translation  published  at  Edin- 
burgh, 1752. 


retinue  to  be  out  of  the  way,"  adding,  "  that  as  the  snow  soon  after 
fell  in  great  quantities" — a  contingency  for  which  Mary  seems 
to  have  been  considered  answerable — "  he  would  have  been  in 
want  of  the  necessaries  of  life,  if  the  Bishop  of  Orkney  had  not 
brought  him  some  wine  and  other  provisions."  Any  comment 
on  the  absurdity  of  such  a  tale  is  rendered  needless  by  the 
evidence  of  a  letter  from  the  Earl  of  Lennox  to  his  son,  proving 
that  Darnley,  who  certainly  had  a  will  of  his  own,  had 
announced  that  it  was  his  pleasure  to  proceed  to  Peebles,  and 
spend  some  time  there,  several  days  before  it  was  possible,  on 
account  of  the  bad  weather,  to  undertake  that  short  journey 
from  Edinburgh ;  and  that  the  principal  object  of  the  expedition 
was  a  meeting  between  the  father  and  son,  probably  unknown  to 
the  queen,  who  was  not  on  friendly  terms  with  Lennox  just  then. 
This  letter  bears  too  importantly  on  the  question  of  the  credi- 
bility of  the  charges  brought  against  Mary  Stuart  to  be  omitted ; 
for  without  even  mentioning  her  name,  it  exonerates  her  from 
one  of  Buchanan's  twice-repeated  calumnies,  and  thus,  by  the 
righteous  law  of  evidence,  nullifies  every  other  deposition  of  a 
witness  so  malignant  and  untruthful : 


SIR — I  have  received,  by  my  servant  Nisbet,  your  natural  and  kind 
letter,  for  the  which  I  humbly  thank  your  majesty ;  and  as  to  the 
contents  thereof,  I  will  not  trouble  you  therein,  but  defer  the  same  till  I 
wait  upon  your  majesty  at  Peebles,  which  shall  be  so  soon  as  I  may  hear 
of  the  certainty  of  your  going  thither.  And  for  that  the  extremity  of  the 
stormy  weather  causes  me  to  doubt  of  your  setting  forward  so  soon  on 
your  journey,  therefore  I  stay  till  I  hear  farther  from  your  majesty,  which 
I  shall  humbly  beseech  you  I  may,  and  I  shall  not  fail  to  wait  upon  you 
accordingly.  Thus  committing  your  majesty  to  the  government  and 
blessing  of  Almighty  God,  who  preserve  you  in  health,  long  life,  and 
happy  reign. 

From  Glasgow,  this  26th  day  of  December. 

Your  Majesty's  Humble  Subject  and  Father, 


I  shall  desire  your  majesty  to  pardon  me  in  that  this  letter  is  not 


written  with  mine  own  hand  ;  for  truly,  at  the  writing  hereof,  a  pain 
which  I  have  in  my  shoulder  and  arm  is  the  cause  thereof. 
Endorsed — "To  THE  KING'S  MAJESTY.'" 

As  regards  David  Rizzio,  the  conspiracy  to  murder  this 
favourite  attendant  of  the  queen  included  certain  lairds  in 
Peeblesshire.  Under  date  March  19,  1565,  the  Privy  Council 
Record  contains  a  long  list  of  persons  charged  with  being 
concerned  in  the  slaughter,  a  few  days  previously  (March  9), 
and  in  this  roll  of  alleged  assassins  are  seen  the  following 
names :  '  William  Twedy  of  Drummelzier,  Adam  Twedy  of 
Dreva,  Hector  Douglas  of  Spitalhaugh,  James  Douglas  there, 
and  James  Widderspuine  of  Brighouse.' 

It  does  not  surprise  us  to  find  two  of  the  Tweedies  in 
the  proscribed  list,  nor  that  through  the  lamentable  weak- 
ness of  the  government,  they  and  their  confederates  escaped 
the  punishment  due  for  this  and  innumerable  other  crimes. 
The  Privy  Council,  as  will  be  observed  throughout,  had  a 
favourite  method  of  dealing  with  the  offences  of  the  land- 
proprietors,  who  were  let  off  on  giving  security  for  future 
good-behaviour — a  degree  of  lenity  which  seems  to  have  had  no 
other  effect  than  to  afford  opportunities  for  committing  fresh  acts 
of  outrage.  About  the  time  of  Rizzio's  murder,  Adam  Tweedie  of 
Dreva  perpetrated  a  crime  scarcely  less  atrocious  than  actual 
homicide.  Having,  for  some  reason  or  other,  taken  cause  of 
offence  against  a  person  named  Robert  Rammage,  he  forthwith 
assaulted  him,  and  brutally  cut  off  his  ears.  Rammage  and  his 
brother  not  being  disposed  to  put  up  with  this  indignity,  brought 
the  case  under  the  cognizance  of  the  authorities,  and  Tweedie  was 
placed  at  the  bar  of  the  Court  of  Justiciary  on  the  26th  of 
January  I565-66.1  The  charge  against  him  in  the  dittay  was 
'  the  cutting  off  Robert  Rammage's  luggs,  and  dismembering  him 
thairof.'  The  crime  was  not  denied,  but  the  panel  pleaded  '  the 
king  and  queen's  remission,  Nov.  30,  1565,'  and  he  was  accord- 
ingly absolved  ;  his  kinsman,  William  Tweedie  of  Drummelzier, 

1  Pitcairn's  Criminal  Trials,  vol.  i.  p.  475. 


engaging  to  satisfy  the  Rammages,  who,  in  all  probability,  never 
received  any  sort  of  redress. 

In  August  1566,  during  a  temporary  reconcilement  of  Mary 
and  Darnley,  they  visited  Peeblesshire.  '  On  the  I4th,  the 
queen  and  her  husband  set  out  for  Meggetland,  to  enjoy  the 
diversion  of  hunting,  which  was  not  now  what  it  had  been  in  the 
happier  days  of  James  V.  They  were  attended  by  the  Earls  of 
Huntly,  Moray,  and  other  nobles.  On  the  i6th  of  August, 
they  held  a  council  at  Rodonna,  where  they  made  an  ordinance  ; 
noticing  the  scarcity  of  deer,  and  ordaining  that  they  should  not 
be  shot,  under  the  pains  of  law.  Being  thus  disappointed,  they 
determined  to  return  ;  they  were  at  Traquair  on  the  igth,  and 
came  to  Edinburgh  on  the  2Oth.' 1 

1567,  Oct.  IO. — 'There  was  ane  proclamation  to  meet  the 
Regent  [Moray]  at  Peebles  on  the  8  of  November  next,  for  the 
repressing  of  the  thieves  in  Annandale  and  Eskdale ;  but  my 
Lord  Regent  thinking  they  will  get  advertisement,  he  prevented 
the  day,  and  came  over  the  water  secretly,  and  lodged  in  Dal- 
keith ;  this  upon  the  19  day  [October]  ;  and  upon  the  morrow 
he  departed  towards  Hawick. '  * 

Our  next  extract  illustrates  the  narrow  commercial  policy  of 
the  period,  but  likewise  shews  that  our  ancestors  in  Peebles  in 
the  sixteenth  century  did  not  deny  themselves  the  use  of  wine. 

1571-72,  Jan.  26. — James  Hoppringle,  burges  of  Peebles,  having 
obtenit  licence  to  carry  furth  of  Leith  to  Peebles  twa  tun  of  wine,  John 
Murdo,  tailzour,  became  caution  and  souretie  that  the  same  sail  not  be 
sent  to  Edinburgh  under  pane  of  payment  of  the  same. — P.  C.  R. 

From  the  following,  we  learn  that  in  the  course  of  their 
operations,  the  Tweedies  did  not  disdain  to  act  the  part  of  free- 
booters when  occasion  offered. 

1572,  Sept.  13. — To  the  Council,  met  at  Stirling,  Duncan  Weir,  in 
Staneburne,  complains  that  William  Twedy,  on  pretence  of  a  gift  of  the 
escheat  of  the  said  Duncan,  through  his  alleged  conviction  for  producing 
false  letters  of  poynding  before  the  Lords  of  Council  against  the  said 

1  Life  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots,  by  George  Chalmers,  vol.  i.  p.  281. 
8  Barrel's  Diary. 


William — the  latter,  with  Roger  his  brother,  two  of  his  sons,  John 
Grahame  of  Slipperfield,  James  Watson,  and  other  eight  persons,  did, 
on  the  first  of  June  last,  take  from  the  house  of  Staneburne  twa  pair  of 
sheets,  three  shirts,  collars,  curches,  and  two  Jedburgh  stams ;!  and  from 
the  lands  of  Staneburne,  seven  cows  and  mare ;  and  also  that  the  said 
William  and  John  Twedy,  tutour  of  Drummelzear,  with  others,  at  the 
instigation  of  William  Twedy,  on  the  twenty-sixth  of  August  last,  tooke 
from  the  said  Duncan,  out  of  Wester  Kirkurdyard,  twelve  head  of  nolt, 
with  a  mare — all  which  notwithstanding  a  reference  by  the  Regent  and 
Council  to  the  Lords  of  Session,  and  a  declaration  by  Duncan  of  his 
innocence  of  the  crime  of  false  production,  were  still,  to  his  almost  utter 
ruin,  withheld  from  him  by  the  said  parties.  William  Twedy  alleged 
that  he  had  obtained  the  said  gift  of  escheat,  and  had  therefore  done  no 
wrong  to  the  said  Duncan.  The  Regent  and  Council  referred  the  matter 
to  the  Lords  of  Session,  '  to  do  justice  thairin  conforme  to  the  lawes  of 
this  realme.'— P.  C.  R. 

The  disorderliness  of  the  county  gentry  in  these  unsettled 
times  may  be  said  to  have  been  imitated  on  a  minor  but  not  less 
rancorous  scale  by  the  burgesses  of  Peebles,  who,  among  them- 
selves, scolded,  quarrelled,  and  fought,  used  towards  each  other 
opprobrious  epithets  in  open  council,  constantly  disagreed  about 
rights  to  common  property,  and,  at  times,  out  of  malice  or  an 
inclination  for  plunder,  committed  crimes  which  brought  them 
within  the  scrutiny  of  the  higher  courts. 

On  the  ist  of  July  1572,  there  occurred  a  mysterious  and 
horrid  murder  in  Peebles,  the  cause  of  which  has  never  been 
cleared  up.  It  was  the  assassination  of  John  Dickison  of  Wink- 
ston,  provost  of  the  burgh,  the  attack  upon  him,  according  to 
local  tradition,  being  in  the  eastern  part  of  the  High  Street. 
Certain  persons  in  the  town  were  accused  of  the  crime, 
and  brought  to  trial  before  the  Court  of  Justiciary  on  the  iQth 
of  July.  The  following  are  the  names  of  the  accused :  James 
Tuedy,  John  Wightman,  Martin  Hay,  and  John  Bullo,  all  of 
Peebles,  and  Thomas  Johnston,  son  of  Thomas  Johnston  of 
Craigieburn.  The  prosecutors  were  the  relict,  father,  and  son  of 

1  The  citizens  of  Jedburgh  were  so  distinguished  for  the  use  of  arms,  that  the  battle- 
axe,  or  species  of  partisan,  which  they  commonly  used,  was  called  a  Jeddart-staff,  after 
the  name  of  the  burgh. — Scott's  Border  Antiquities. 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  1 05 

the  deceased,  and  two  of  their  council  were  Lord  Yester  and  the 
Laird  of  Blancrue.  We  give  the  names  of  the  jurors  on  the 
assize,  for  they  were  nearly  all  of  Peebles — original  spelling 
preserved — '  Patrik  Neutoun,  burges  of  Peblis ;  Martyne 
Wilsoun,  thair ;  John  Mosman,  thair ;  Patrik  Weche,  thair ; 
John  Horsbrugh,  merchand,  thair ;  Thomas  Patersoun,  thair  ; 
John  Sydeserff  of  that  Ilk ;  Robert  Scot  in  Peblis  ;  Edward 
Robesoun,  thair  ;  Alexandre  Wilsoun,  thair  ;  Andro  Cheisholme, 
thair  ;  George  Horsbrugh,  thair  ;  James  Cokburne,  thair  ;  Stevin 
Robesoun,  thair ;  Alexandre  Donaldsoun  in  Leyth.'  The  jury 
unanimously  acquitted  all  the  persons  charged. 

James  Douglas,  Earl  of  Morton,  became  regent  in  1572,  and  at 
the  same  time  extended  his  possessions  in  Peeblesshire,  in  the 
midst  of  which  he  began  to  build  Drochill  Castle,  on  a  scale 
of  surpassing  magnificence.  During  his  regency,  the  peace 
of  the  country  was  so  little  improved  as  to  call  for  an  active 
gathering  of  several  sheriffdoms. 

1574,  July  16. — The  Regent  and  Privy  Council  ordain  letters 
to  be  directed  'to  charge  all  legis  betwixt  16  and  60  yeiris,  and 
uthers  fencible  personis  within  the  boundis  of  the  schirefdomes  of 
Lanerk,  Peblis,  and  Selkirk,  that  thai,  weill  bodin  in  feir  of  weir,  with 
four  dayis  victuallis  and  provisiones,  meit  his  Grace  at  Peblis,  the  26  day 
of  Julii  instant,  and  to  accompany  his  Grace,  and  attend  upoun  service, 
under  the  pane  of  tynsall  of  lyfe,  landis,  andgudis.' — P.  C.  £. 

1574,  Dec.  6. — '  The  quhilk  day,  Thomas  Cant  of  Sanct  Gillegrange1  is 
become  suretie  for  Adam  Twedy  of  Dreva,  that  he  sail  compeir  person- 
alie  befoir  my  Lord  Regentis  Grace  and  Lordis  of  Secret  Counsale  the 
last  day  of  Februare  nix  to  cum,  and  underlie  sic  order  as  sail  be 
appointit  for  the  weill  and  quietness  of  the  countrie,  and  also  that  he 
by  himself,  his  kin,  brether,  servandis,  and  friendis  cum  of  his  awin  hous, 
and  all  utheris  that  he  may  let,  sal  na  wayis  invade  or  persew  Charles 
Geddes  of  Rachane,  and  James  Geddes  his  father,  brether,  kin,  and 
friendis,  utherwayis  than  by  order  of  law,  under  the  pane  of  twa  thousand 
pundis.'  Adam  Twedy  binds  and  obliges  himself  '  to  relieve  the  said 
Thomas  Cant  of  the  premisis.— P.  C.  £. 

1  Sanct  Gillegrange  is  the  old  name  of  the  Grange,  near  Edinburgh  ;  being  so  called 
from  having  been  the  grange  or  farm-establishment  belonging  to  the  collegiate  church 
of  St  Giles. 


The  above  surety  by  Thomas  Cant  must  either  have  been 
insufficient  or  withdrawn,  for  under  date  December  7,  1574, 
William  Lauder  of  Haltoun  undertakes  the  same  obligation 
concerning  Tweedie  and  his  relations. 

1574-75,  March  n. — William  Baillie  of  Lamyington  becomes  surety 
for  the  above  Charles  and  James  Geddes,  that  they  shall  not,  except  in 
due  course  of  law,  give  any  annoyance  to  John  Twedy,  tutor  of  Drum- 
melzier,  Patrick  Twedy  his  uncle,  Adam  Twedy  of  Dreva,  &c. — P.  C.  R. 

1576,  June  24. — This  day,  the  Council  issued  an  order  to  preserve  the 
deer  in  Meggetland,  Eskdalemuir,  and  other  parts  where  the  Scottish 
kings  '  had  wont  to  have  their  chief  pastyme  of  hunting.'  Officers  at 
arms  and  sheriffs  are  'to  pass  to  the  mercat  croce  of  Dumfries,  Jedburgh, 
Peebles,  Selkirk,  Hawick,  and  utheris  places  neidful,  and  thair,  be  open 
proclamation  in  our  Soverane  Lordes  name  and  auctoritie,  command  and 
charge  all  and  sindrie  his  Hegis,  that  nane  of  thame  tak  on  hand  to 
schute  at  the  saidis  deir  with  gunns,  or  to  bring  in  ony  maner  of  English- 
men to  hunt  quhatsumever  part  of  the  severall  grounds  of  Scotland, 
without  expres  licence  of  our  Soverane  Lord,  or  wardane  of  the  merche, 
had  and  obtenit  to  that  effect,  or  yet  to  hunt  thameselves  at  ony  time  fra 
Fastrenes  Een  till  Midsumer,  under  the  panis  contenet  in  the  actis  of 
parliament  and  treatis  of  peace.' — P.  C.  R. 

The  year  1581  was  signalised  by  the  execution  of  the 
ex-regent  Morton,  who  was  condemned  as  having  been  actively 
concerned  in  the  murder  of  Darnley.  The  abrupt  termination 
of  his  career  left  Drochill  in  the  unfinished  state  in  which  it  is 
represented  in  next  page.  Its  remains,  which  occupy  the  brow  of 
a  rising-ground  between  the  Lyne  and  the  Tarth,  parish  of  New- 
lands,  constitute  the  grandest  of  the  ruined  castles  in  the  county. 

With  all  his  avariciousness  and  cruelty,  it  by  no  means 
appears  that  Morton  was  worse  than  many  others  who  escaped 
the  vengeance  of  James  VI.  He  devised  his  earldom  and 
estates  to  his  nephew  the  Earl  of  Angus  ;  and  in  the  case  of  the 
failure  of  issue  of  that  nobleman,  then  to  William  Douglas  of 
Loch  Leven  ;  but  disregarding  this  will,  the  crown,  as  dealing  with 
a  forfeiture,  conferred  the  earldom  on  John  Lord  Maxwell, 
grandson  of  the  third  Earl  of  Morton,  who  thus  became  fifth 
Earl  of  Morton.  This  dignity  he  held  only  about  four  years ; 
for  a  general  act  of  indemnity  being  passed  in  1585,  he  had 



to  surrender  the  earldom  to  the  proper  heir,  Archibald  Douglas, 
Earl  of  Angus,  and  in  recompense  was  created  Earl  of  Nithsdale. 
If  John  Lord  Maxwell  is  to  be  judged  by  his  unruly  character, 
these  favours  from  the  crown  were  ill  bestowed.  He  and  his  natural 

Fig.  22. — Drochill  Castle  in  rains. 

brother,  Robert  Maxwell,  were  for  a  time  the  torment  of  the 
south  of  Scotland,  and,  as  will  be  immediately  seen,  the 
oppressions  of  Robert  and  his  followers  had  to  be  withstood 
by  a  levy  en  masse  which  had  Peebles  for  its  rendezvous. 
Meanwhile,  our  attention  is  recalled  to  the  Tweedies. 

1584,  Nov.  ro. — The  charge  given  to  John  Creichton  of  Quarter,  Mr 
John  Twedy  in  Dreva,  John  Twedy  in  Stanhop,  Hob.  Twedy  in  Howgait, 
James  Twedy  of  Drummelzeare,  James  Twedy  of  Frude,  Adam  Twedy 
in  Dreva,  James  Twedy  younger  thair,  John  Twedy  in  Henderlethane, 
and  Alexander  Porteous  of  Glenkirk,  to  have  comperit  personalie  before 
the  kingis  majestic  and  Lords  of  Secreit  Counsale — the  foresaids 
persones  comperand  personalie,  being  accusit  of  certaine  treasonable 
and  capitall  crymes,  quhairof  they  allegit  thay  wer  altogidder  innocent. 
The  Lords  assign  the  second  day  of  December  nix  to  cum  to  the  saids 
persones  to  underly  the  law,  before  the  justice  or  his  deputes  in  the 
Tolbuith  of  Edinburgh,  and  to  that  effect  ordane  to  summond  ane 
assize,  and  in  the  meantyme  the  saids  are  to  enter  thair  persones  in  ward 


within  24  hours,  James  Twedy  of  Drummelzeare,  Andrew  Twedy  in 
Dreva,  and  Alexander  Porteous  of  Glenkirk,  within  the  burgh  of  Lin- 
lithgow;  and  Hob.  Twedy  in  Howgait,  and  James  Twedy  of  Frude,  within 
the  Tolbooth  of  Edinburgh,  all  upon  thair  own  expenses. — P.  C.  R. 

1584,  Nov.  1 6. — William  Cokburne,  burgess  of  Edinburgh,  becomes 
surety  for  James   Twedy  of  Drummelzeare,  and  William   Sinclair  of 
Roslin  for  Adam  Twedy  of  Dreva,  and  Alexander  Porteous  of  Glenkirk 
— that  immediately  on  their  release  from  prison  in  Linlithgow,  they  will 
remove  to  the  Tolbooth  of  Edinburgh  to  abide  their  trial. — P.  C.  R. 

From  the  next  reference  to  this  obscure  case,  we  have  a 
glimpse  of  its  true  meaning.  It  was  a  family  feud  of  the 
Tweedies,  as  is  evident  from  the  decision  that  Tweedie  of 
Frude  was  in  danger  of  his  life  from  the  vindictive  assaults  of 
Tweedie  of  Drummelzier  and  one  of  his  associates.  Security  is 
exacted  for  their  good-behaviour. 

1584-85,  March  22. — William  Foullartoun  of  Arde  becomes  securitie 
for  James  Twedy  of  Drummelzeare,  and  Andro  alias  David  Haswell  in 
the  kirkland  of  Drummelzeare,  that  James  Twedy  of  Fmde,  and  his 
tennentis  and  servandis,  sail  be  skaythlis  in  their  bodies,  gudes,  and  geir 
be  the  saids  James  Twedy  and  David  Haswell  in  tyme  cuming,  uther- 
wayes  nor  be  ordour  of  law,  James  Twedy  under  pane  of  1000  merks, 
and  Pavid  Haswell  under  the  pane  of  300  merks — half  to  the  king,  and 
half  to  the  party  grevit ;  and  David  erle  of  Crawfurde  oblist  himself  to 
relief  the  said  William  Foullartoune  as  above,  and  James  Twedy  of 
Drummelzeare  to  relief  the  said  erle  of  the  premises. — P.  C.  R. 

1585,  April  20. — Proclamation  that  for  suppressing  the  oppressions 
and  crimes  committed  on  the  borders,  and  especially  by  Robert  Maxwell, 
natural  brother  of  John,  Earl  of  Morton,  and  others,  the  whole  inhabitants 
of  the  sheriffdom  of  Edinburgh,  constabularies  of  Haddington,  Berwick, 
Roxburgh,  Selkirk,  Peebles,  Lanark,  Dumfries,  Wigton,  Ayr,  Renfrew, 
Stirling,  Linlithgow,  stewardries  of  Kirkcudbright  and  Annandale,  and 
bailleries  of  Kyle,  Carrick,  and  Cunningham,  from  16  to  60  years  of 
age,  with  20  days'  provision,  meet  the  king  or  his  lieutenant  at  Peebles 
on  2  May  next. — P.  C.  R. 

Three  days  before  this  formidable  meeting  took  place,  the 
upper  part  of  Clydesdale  was  disturbed  by  a  fresh  outrage,  in 
which  some  Peeblesshire  gentry  were  concerned.  On  the  3Oth 
of  April,  John  Livingstone  of  Belstane,  in  the  parish  of  Carluke, 
complained  to  the  Council  of  an  assault  which  had  been  made 
upon  him  on  the  3d  of  the  preceding  February  by  sundry 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  1 09 

persons,  whose  motive  in  so  assailing  him  does  riot  appear.  The 
affair  is  most  characteristic — indeed,  a  type  of  numberless  other 
lawless  proceedings  of  the  time.  John  quietly  leaves  his  house 
before  sunrise,  meaning  no  harm  to  any  one,  and  expecting  none 
to  himself.  He  walks  out,  as  he  says,  under  God's  peace  and 
the  king's,  when  suddenly  he  is  beset  by  about  forty  people  who 
had  him  at  feud,  '  all  bodin  in  feir  of  weir ; '  namely,  armed  with 
jacks,  steel  bonnets,  spears,  lance-staffs,  bows,  hagbuts,  pistolets, 
and  other  invasive  weapons  forbidden  by  the  laws.  At  the  head 
of  them  was  William,  Master  of  Yester — a  denounced  rebel  on 
account  of  his  slaughter  of  the  Laird  of  Westerhall's  servant — 
Alexander  Jardine,  younger  of  Applegarth ;  his  servants,  Stephen 
Jardine,  and  Matthew  Moffat  in  Woodend,  James  Borthwick  of 
Colela,  John  Lauder  of  Hartpool,  Michael  Hunter  of  Polmood, 
John  Hoppringle  in  Peebles,  James  Hoppringle  of  the  same 
place,  Wiliam  Brenarde  [Burnett  ?]  of  the  Barns,  John  Cockburn 
of  Glen,  and  Colin  Langton  of  Earlshaugh,  were  among  the 
company,  evidently  all  of  them  men  of  some  figure  and  import- 
ance. Having  come  for  the  purpose  of  attacking  Livingstone, 
they  no  sooner  saw  him  than  they  set  upon  him,  with  discharge 
of  their  firearms,  to  deprive  him  of  his  life.  He  narrowly  escaped, 
and  ran  back  to  his  'house,  which  they  immediately  environed  in 
the  most  furious  manner,  firing  in  at  the  windows  and  through 
every  other  aperture,  for  a  space  of  three  hours.  A  '  bullon ' 
pierced  his  hat.  As  they  departed,  they  met  his  wife  and 
daughter,  whom  they  abused  shamefully.  In  short,  it  seems 
altogether  to  have  been  an  affair  of  the  most  barbarous  and 
violent  kind.  The  offenders  were  all  denounced  rebels.1 

1585,  April  30. — The  following  are  denounced  rebels  for  not  appearing 
to  answer  for  illegal  convocation  of  the  lieges  :  Michael  Hunter  of 
Polmood,  John  Hoppringle  in  Peebles,  James  Hoppringle  there,  Mr 
Alexander  Vache,  William  Vache,  his  son,  and  John  English  of  Maner- 
heid.— P.  C.  X. 

For  several  years  about  this  period,  the  feuds  in  Peeblesshire 
were  aggravated  by  the  outrageous  conduct  of  William,  Master 

1  Domes  fie  Annals  of  Scotland,  vol.  i.  p.  156  ;  and  P.  C.  K. 


of  Yester,  son  of  William,  Lord  Hay,  of  Yester,  in  whom  was 
united  the  offices  of  sheriff-principal  of  the  county  and  provost 
of  the  burgh  of  Peebles.  It  was  alleged,  with  some  degree  of 
reason,  that  a  nobleman  who  exercised  these  functions  should 
have  at  least  so  far  shewn  respect  for  the  laws  as  to  make  his 
son. answerable  for  his  crimes  ;  instead  of  which,  as  was  said,  he 
placed  him  in  his  house  and  strength  of  Neidpath,  where,  though 
a  denounced  rebel,  he  kept  state  with  a  numerous  band  of  armed 
retainers,  and  did  many  illegal  acts.  Moved  as  much  perhaps  by 
a  family  grudge  of  old  standing  as  by  any  great  regard  for  the 
law,  Sir  John  Stewart  of  Traquair,  and  his  brother,  James 
Stewart  of  Shillinglaw,  made  a  complaint  to  the  Privy  Council, 
October  5,  1585,  setting  forth  that,  dwelling  on  lands  on  the 
south  side  of  the  Tweed,  they  were  subject  to  the  incursions  of 
the  thieves  and  broken  men  of  the  borders,  against  whom  they 
could  not  effectually  protect  themselves  and  their  neighbours,  in 
consequence  of  '  being  greatly  hindered  therein '  by  William, 
Master  of  Yester.  Besides  this,  the  Master  is  accused  of  usurping 
the  authority  of  both  sheriff  and  provost,  and  taking  upon  him 
'  to  proclame  and  hold  wappinshawings  at  tymes  nawayes 
appointit  be  his  Hieness"  direction,  nor  be  ony  lawis  or  custome 
of  this  realme,  to  banishe  and  gif  up  kyndnes  to  all  personis  in 
burgh  or  land  quhair  he  pleases — to  tak  up  menis  geir  under  pre- 
tens  of  release  from  wappinshawings,  the  said  Maister  haveand  na 
power  or  auctoritie  as  a  lauchful  magistrat  to  command  them — 
and  furder  it  is  weill  knawn  to  sindrie  of  the  saids  Lords  of  Secreit 
Counsale  that  the  said  Maister  socht  the  life  of  the  said  James 
Stewart,  and  daylie  shoris  and  bostis  to  slay  him  and  all  uthers 
of  his  kin  and  freindis  quhom  he  may  maister.'  The  complainers 
desire  that  Lord  Yester  and  his  son  may  be  deprived  of  this 
unlawfully  usurped  power,  and  prevented  from  troubling  James 
Stewart  and  others.  To  sustain  these  complaints,  Sir  John 
Stewart  and  his  brother  '  compeared  by  James  Lawsoun  of  Carne- 
mure,  thair  procurator,  and  William,  Maister  of  Yester,  com- 
peared for  himself  and  his  father,  who  he  stated  to  be  "  visite 
with  seikness."'  The  Council  remitted  the  case  to  the  Lords  of 


Session,  and  in  '  the  meantyme  discharges  the  said  Lord  and 
Maister  of  Yester,  thair  deputis  and  officiaris  of  all  calling, 
persewing,  unlawing,  poinding,  troubling,  or  onwayis  proceeding 
agains  the  saidis  Sir  John  Stewart  and  James  Stewart,  thair 
brether,  bairns,  tennants,  servants,  and  dependaries,  unto  the 
aucht  day  of  Januar  nix  to  cum.' — P.  C.  R. 

Whatever  may  have  been  the  general  misconduct  of  the 
Master  of  Yester,  who  was  nicknamed  Wood-sword,  the  accusa- 
tion of  having  tolerated  and  countenanced  border  thieves  is  not 
quite  consistent  with  the  fact,  that  he  secured  the  royal  indulgence 
by  his  promptitude  in  protecting  the  lieges  from  their  incursions ; 
and  if  we  are  to  believe  Father  Hay,  it  was  the  Stewarts  who 
were  in  this  respect  really  in  fault.  '  The  borders,'  says  this 
authority,  '  being  much  infested  with  broken  men  and  thieving, 
this  lord  [Master  of  Yester],  who  always  rode  accompanied  with 
twenty-four  horsemen,  and  as  many  footmen,  armed,  did  take 
and  hanged  a  great  [number]  of  them.  He  was  at  feud  with  the 
House  of  Traquair  for  seconding  the  thieves,  in  pursuit  of  whom 
he  received  a  wound  in  the  face.  King  James  VI.  being 
desirous  to  have  this  feud  taken  away,  as  all  others  of  the 
country,  and  he  refusing,  was  committed  to  the  Castle  of  Edin- 
burgh [June  7,  1587],  out  of  which  he  made  his  escape,  and 
immediately  made  one  new  inroad  against  the  thieves,  of  whom 
he  killed  a  great  many,  in  a  place  called  from  thence  the  Bloody 
Haugh,  near  Riskinhope,  in  Rodonna  ;  whereupon  the  king  was 
pleased  to  make  a  hunting  journey,  and  came  to  the  house  of 
Neidpath,  whither  the  king  called  Traquair,  with  his  two  sons, 
who  made  to  Lord  Yester  acknowledgment  for  the  wrong  they 
had  done  him,  and  then  peace  was  made  by  the  king.  This  was 
witnessed  by  one  William  Geddes,  who  was  my  lord's  butler,  and 
lived  till  the  year  1632." 

From  1587  till  1591,  several  incidents  illustrative  of  the  condi- 
tion of  things  in  Peeblesshire  come  under  the  notice  of  the  Privy 

1  Genealogy  of  the  Hays  of  Tweeddale,  by  Father  R.  A.  Hay. 


1588-89,  Jan.  23. — James  Sandilands,  tailor  burgess  of  Edinburgh, 
becomes  suretie  for  John  Govan,  younger  of  Cardrona,  that  the  said 
John  sail  mak  payment  to  Sir  James  Maxwell  of  Calderwoode,  knycht, 
collector  of  the  baronis  tax  within  the  sherifFdom  of  Lanark,  of  sums  of 
money  as  he  sail  be  fund  justlie  indebted. — P.  C.  R. 

1589,  Sept.  15. — Charles  Geddes  of  Rachan  becomes  suretie  for  Mr 
Thomas  Nasmyth,  portioner  of  Posso,  that  William  Twedy,  eldest  lawful 
sone  to  John  Twedy,  sometyme  tutor  of  Drummelzeare,  and  the  said 
John  his  lawful  guidar,  sal  be  harmles  and  skaithles  in  thair  bodyes, 
landis,  takkis  [leases],  possessionis,  gudes,  and  geir,  under  the  paine  of 
500  pundis,  the  ane  half  to  the  kingis  majestic,  the  other  half  to  the 
pairty  greivit. — P.  C.  R. 

1589,  Sept.  24. — A  similar  security  is  given  by  'John  Tuedy, 
mercheant  burges  of  Edinburgh,'  and  others,  to  the  effect  that  '  Mr 
Thomas  Nasmyth,  fiar  of  Posso,  his  tennantis  and  servands,  sal  be 
harmles '  from  James  Tuedy  of  Drummelzeare,  '  under  paine  of  4000 
merkis.'— P.  C.  R. 

1589. — John,  Lord  Fleming,  becomes  suretie  for  John  Tuedy,  bruther 
germane  to  James  Tuedy  of  Drummelzeare,  that  Michael  Nasmyth  of 
Posso,  Mr  Thomas  Nasmyth,  his  sonne  and  appeirand  air,  and  John 
Nasmyth,  his  bruther,  thair  wyffis,  bairns,  and  servands,  sal  be  harmless, 
under  the  paine  of  5000  merkis.  And  also  that  the  said  John,  being 
releivit  furth  of  his  present  warde  within  the  tolbuith  of  Edinburgh,  sal 
keip  warde  thairafter  within  burgh,  until  he  satisfie  the  said  Maister 
Thomas,  for  the  skaith  susteinit  be  him  be  the  douncasting  of  his  house 
of  Stirkfield.— P.  C.  R. 

1589,  Oct.  4. — Similar  caution  to  the  above  given  by  James  Hamilton 
of  Libbertoun  for  James  Tuedy  of  Drummelzeare,  that  Michael  Nasmyth 
of  Posso,  his  son,  &c.,  shall  be  harmless  under  the  penalty  of  5000 
merks.— P.  C.  R. 

1590,  June  4. — William  Cokburne,   burges  of  Edinburgh,  becomes 
'suretie    for   John  Tuedy    of    Drummelzeare,   that    Maister    Thomas 
Nasmyth,  fiar  of  Posso,  sal  be  harmless,  under  the  paine  of  1000  pundis/ 
—P.  C.  R. 

These  were  small  matters  in  comparison  with  an  affair  which 
took  place  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Peebles,  the  Tweedies,  as  usual, 
being  the  prime  movers.  On  the  i6th  of  June  1590,  Patrick 
Veitch  of  Dawick  went  on  business  to  Peebles,  and  while  there, 
'  was  perceived  by  James  Tuedy  of  Drummelzier  ;  John  Tuedy, 
his  brother;  Adam  Tuedy  of  Dreva;  John  Tuedy,  tutor  of  Drum- 
melzier ;  Charles  Tuedy,  the  bastard  ;  William  Tuedy  of  the 

JAMES    II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  113 

Wrae,  John  Creichton  of  Quarter,  Andro  Creichton  in  Cardon, 
and  Thomas  Porteous  of  Glenkirk,'  all  of  whom  entertained  a 
deadly  hatred  of  Veitch,  and  thought  that  a  fair  opportunity  had 
occurred  for  taking  his  life.  Procuring  knowledge  of  the  time 
he  was  to  set  off  homeward,  the  band  of  homicides  divided 
themselves  into  two  companies,  one  of  which  preceded  him 
unobserved,  and  concealed  itself  at  a  particular  place  on  the 
road  behind  Neidpath.  Veitch  quitted  the  town  unsuspicious 
of  his  danger,  followed  at  a  distance  by  the  other  party  ;  and  at 
a  given  signal  the  whole  closed  upon  the  unfortunate  man,  '  and 
with  swordis  and  pistolettes  cruellie  and  unmercifullie  slew  him, 
upon  set  purpose,  auld  feid,  and  forethought,  without  respect 
either  to  the  late  proclamation  as  to  keeping  good  order, 
according  to  his  majestie's  godlie  and  gude  intention  anent  the 
reformation  of  abuses  and  disorders,  nor  yet  with  having  regard 
to  the  present  time  of  the  strangers  being  with  his  majestic.  In 
respect  whereof,'  proceeds  the  complaint  to  the  Privy  Council, 
'  not  only  is  his  majestic  touchet  in  honour,  his  authentic  highly 
contemned,  and  occasion  given  to  uther  wicked  personis  to  do 
the  like — this  odious  slauchter  being  the  first  that  has  been 
committit  since  his  majestie's  hame-coming,  sail  not  remane 

The  accused  parties  not  appearing  to  answer  the  charge,  they 
were  denounced  rebels,  and  by  some  peculiarly  active  means 
were  shortly  afterwards  placed  in  prison  in  Edinburgh.  The 
case  was  referred  to  the  aire  or  circuit  court  at  Peebles,  but 
meanwhile  it  became  complicated  by  reprisals.  On  the  2Oth  of 
June,  two  relations  of  the  slain  youth — John  Veitch,  younger  of 
North  Synton,  and  Andrew  Veitch,  brother  of  the  Laird  of 
Courhope — set  upon  John  Tweedie,  tutor  of  Drummelzier,  and 
burgess  of  Edinburgh,  as  he  walked  the  streets  of  the  capital, 
and  killed  him.  Thus  were  the  alleged  murderers  punished 
through  a  near  relative,  probably  uncle  of  the  principal  party. 
For  some  time,  there  is  a  tiresome  repetition  of  entries  in  the 
Privy  Council  Records  concerning  sureties  given  on  both  sides 
under  heavy  penalties  ;  nothing,  of  course,  being  done  to  punish 


the  murderers  on  either  side.  Perhaps  the  excessive  laxity  of 
justice  at  this  crisis  is  due  to  the  fact  of  James  VI.  having  just 
arrived  with  his  newly-married  queen  from  Denmark ;  and 
although  scandalised  by  the  outrages  having  taken  place  while 
distinguished  strangers  were  in  the  country,  the  king  was 
disposed  to  let  the  matter  rest,  and  among  other  acts  of  con- 
ciliation, granted  an  order  for  liberation  of  the  Veitches.  This 
indulgence  met  with  no  grateful  return ;  the  feud  of  the 
Tweedies  and  Veitches  was  of  too  long  standing  to  be  relin- 

While  the  Tweedies  and  Veitches,  with  their  respective  allies, 
were  pursuing  schemes  of  vengeance,  a  new  grievance  is  heard 
of  in  the  county.  This  was  the  murder  of  John  Hamilton  of 
Coitquoitt,  a  place  afterwards  known  as  Coldcoat,  and  now 
named  Macbie  Hill.  At  this  period,  Romanno  was  in  possession 
of  the  Hurrays,  who  had  obtained  the  estate  by  intermarriage 
with  an  heiress,  Janet  Romanno  of  that  Ilk.  In  1591,  there 
were  three  ladies  connected  with  Romanno,  respectively  the 
wives  of  father,  son,  and  grandson.  For  their  accommodation, 
there  were  two  dwellings,  the  old  fortalice,  and  what  was  called 
the  Templehouse,  a  name  probably  derived  from  certain  lands 
which  had  at  one  time  belonged  to  the  Knights  Templars. 
These  ladies  came  to  trouble  on  account  of  their  husbands  being 

1  Scott,  in  his  historical  introduction  to  the  Minstrelsy  of  the  Scottish  Border,  refers 
to  the  long-existing  feuds  of  the  Tweedies  and  Veitches,  which  he  illustrates  with  the 
following  traditionary  anecdote  :  '  Veitch  of  Dawyk,  a  man  of  great  strength  and 
bravery,  who  flourished  in  the  1 6th  century,  was  upon  bad  terms  with  a  neighbouring 
proprietor,  Tweedie  of  Drummelziar.  By  some  accident,  a  flock  of  Dawyk's  sheep 
had  strayed  over  into  Drummelziar's  grounds,  at  a  time  when  Dickie  of  the  Dot,  a 
Liddisdale  outlaw,  was  making  his  rounds  in  Tweeddale.  Seeing  this  flock  of  sheep, 
he  drove  them  off  without  ceremony.  Next  morning,  Veitch  perceiving  his  loss, 
summoned  his  servants  and  retainers,  laid  a  blood-hound  upon  the  traces  of  the  robber, 
by  whom  they  were  guided  for  many  miles,  till,  on  the  banks  of  the  Liddel,  he  staid 
upon  a  very  large  haystack.  The  pursuers  were  a  good  deal  surprised  at  the  obstinate 
pause  of  the  blood-hound,  till  Dawyk  pulled  down  some  of  the  hay,  and  discovered  a 
large  excavation,  containing  the  robbers  and  their  spoil.  He  instantly  flew  upon 
Dickie,  and  was  about  to  poniard  him,  when  the  marauder  protested  that  he  would 
never  have  touched  a  cloot  [hoof]  of  them,  had  he  not  taken  them  for  Drummelziar's 
property.  This  dexterous  appeal  to  Veitch's  passions  saved  the  life  of  the  freebooter.' 
— VoL  L  p.  Ixvi.  note. 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  115 

charged  with  the  slaughter  of  their  neighbour,  Hamilton  ;  and  as 
the  alleged  murderers  had  absconded,  and  taken  refuge  with 
friends  and  abettors,  the  ladies  were  put  to  some  inconvenience. 
So  much  may  be  said  in  explanation  of  a  lengthened  entry  in 
the  Privy  Council  Record,  December  10,  1591,  which  we  shall 
attempt  to  simplify. 

Helen  Henderson,  spouse  of  William  Murray,  elder,  of 
Romanno  ;  Margaret  Tweedie,  spouse  to  John  Murray,  younger, 
of  Romanno;  and  Agnes  Nisbitt,  spouse  to  William  Murray, 
youngest  of  Romanno,  complain  that  being  denounced  as  art  and 
part  in  the  slaughter  of  the  late  John  Hamilton  of  Coitquoitt, 
his  son  and  relict  had  misrepresented  to  the  king  that  the  tower 
of  Romanno  was  '  detenit  and  garneist  with  men  of  weir,  to  the 
contempt  of  His  Majesty,'  who  had  placed  it  in  possession  of 
four  persons,  to  whom  was  to  be  paid  a  monthly  allowance 
of  twenty  merks.  The  three  ladies  remonstrate  against  this 
oppressive  arrangement,  '  of  which,  gif  they  had  knawen,  they 
wad  have  compeirit,  and  stayed  the  granting  of  the  same.'  They 
desire  the  order  to  be  suspended,  for  the  house  of  Romanno, 
they  say,  '  was  never  keipit  aganis  his  Hieness,  but  only  aganis 
rebels,  as  God  knawis  tyme  will  try,  and  thairfore  needit  na  sic 
keiparis,  it  being  but  ane  auld  ruinous  tour,  not  meit  for  na  man 
to  keip  or  hassard  his  lyffe  into  ;'  and  besides,  the  said  ladies 
are  conjunctly  infeft  in  fee  and  liferent  in  the  haill  lands  of 
Romanno,  '  quhilk  is  but  a  puir  ten-pund  land,  in  effect  barren, 
and  subject  to  the  incursionis  and  stouthis  of  the  broken  men 
and  thevis  of  baith  the  bordouris,  and  the  saids  complenaris  and 
thair  families,  have  na  maner  of  thing  besides  whareupon 
to  leive  ;  it  can  naither  stand  with  the  law  of  God  nor  man  to 
punish  the  inocent,  and  to  tak  fra  thame  thair  landis  and 
lyves,  although  thair  husbandis  be  now  deprivit  of  his  Hienes' 
favour  ;  and  gif  ony  doubt  or  scruple  may  be  made  anent  the 
keiping  of  the  said  hous,  thay  are  content  and  presentlie  offeris 
(the  keiparis  being  removit  furth  thairof),  with  all  diligence 
thairefter,  to  close  up,  on  thair  expensis,  the  yetts  and  windois 
of  the  hous  with  stane  and  lyme,  and  to  be  answerable  that 


thair  husbandis  nor  na  utheris  sail  entir  thairin  without  his 
Majestie's  licence.' — P.  C.  R. 

This  representation  failed.  Helen  Henderson,  for  herself  and 
the  other  complainers,  also  Bessie  Baillie,  widow,  and  Jonas, 
William,  and  James,  sons  of  the  deceased  John  Hamilton,  being 
present,  the  king  and  council  ordered  the  letters  raised  against 
the  ladies  of  Romanno  to  be  put  to  execution.  The  real 
pinch  in  the  case,  as  will  be  observed,  was  the  obligation  to 
maintain  four  government  officials,  at  a  cost  of  twenty  merks 
(£l,  2s.  6d.  sterling)  monthly;  and  to  get  rid  of  these  unwelcome 
visitors,  the  three  ladies  may  be  allowed  to  have  made  out  a 
painful  case  of  poverty.  Ultimately,  March  29,  1592,  they 
were  exempted  from  further  trouble,  on  giving  security  that 
the  parties  denounced  as  rebels  should  not  find  refuge  within 
the  house  of  Romanno  ;  and  we  can  fancy  the  satisfaction  of  the 
three  sorely-tried  ladies  on  seeing  the  four  officials  quit  the 
fortalice  and  disappear  down  the  old  avenue.  There  were  some 
subsequent  proceedings  in  connection  with  this  affair,  such  as  the 
entering  into  securities  that  there  would  be  no  mutual  molestation 
apart  from  forms  of  law  ;  but  so  feeble  was  justice,  and  so 
weak  the  royal  authority,  that  the  scandal  of  Hamilton's  murder 
blew  over,  and  the  Hurrays  resumed  their  residence  at  Romanno, 
as  if  nothing  had  happened.  We  can  hardly  be  surprised  at  this 
immunity  to  brawling  and  homicidal  lairds,  when  we  remember 
that  in  the  beginning  of  this  year  the  'Bonny  Earl  of  Moray'  was 
slain  at  Donibristle,  and  that  the  king,  notwithstanding  urgent 
remonstrances  from  the  earl's  mother,  refrained  from  prosecuting 
the  murderers. 

At  the  time  that  the  Murrays  of  Romanno  were  in  the  midst 
of  their  troubles  about  the  murder  of  a  neighbouring  laird,  the 
Burnetts  of  Barns  had  laid  themselves  open  to  complaint  on 
account  of  certain  feuds  with  adjoining  proprietors.  Barns  is  an 
extensive  estate  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Tweed,  three  miles 
west  of  Peebles,  and  its  proprietor  at  this  time  was  William 
Burnett,  a  man  of  gigantic  stature  and  strength,  who,  for  his 
sagacity  in  conducting  expeditions  in  the  dark,  was  generally 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  117 

nicknamed  the  '  Howlet,'  or  Owl.  Living  with  his  family  in  a 
tall  feudal  tower,  of  which,  in  its  now  decayed  state,  covered  with 
ivy,  and  with  a  grated  door,  we  present  a  sketch,  the  Howlet 


Fig.  23. — Old  Tower  of  Barns. 

had  rendered  himself  amenable  to  law. 
before  the  Privy  Council  as  follows  : 

The  case  is  brought 

1591. — John  Murray  of  Blackbarony  becomes  '  suretie  for  William 
Burnett  of  Bams,  that  he  sail  compeir  personalie  befoir  the  kingis 
Majestic  and  Lords  of  Secret  Counsole  at  Halyrudhouse,  or  whair  it 
sail  happen  to  be  for  the  time,  the  29  day  of  December  instant,  and  answer 
to  sic  things  as  sail  be  inquirit  of  him,  touching  sic  deedlie  feid  as  he 
hes  interest  in  ;  and  that  he  sail  underlie  sic  order  as  his  Hienes  and  the 
said  Lords  sail  demene  to  him  thereanent,  under  the  pane  of  ane 
thousand  merks.' — P.  C.  R. 

One  of  the  Peeblesshire  lairds  is  found  to  have  been  implicated 
in  the  treasonous  and  outrageous  conduct  of  Francis,  Earl  of 
Bothwell.  Frustrated  in  his  audacious  attempt  to  seize  the  royal 
person  at  Holyrood  House  in  December  1591,  Bothwell,  with  a 
band  of  three  hundred  men,  made  a  renewed  but  equally 


abortive  effort  for  the  same  purpose  at  the  palace  of  Falkland 
in  June  1592.  Retiring  among  his  vassals  in  Liddesdale,  it 
became  necessary  to  assemble  the  lieges  to  quell  this  extra- 
ordinary disturber  of  the  public  peace,  and  several  proclamations 
to  that  effect  were  issued  by  the  Privy  Council.  As  usual,  in  the 
case  of  border  disturbances,  Peebles  was  made  a  place  of  meeting, 
and  here  James  VI.  presented  himself  to  organise  the  forces 
raised  on  the  occasion.  Seemingly  roused  for  the  moment  from 
his  imbecility,  the  king,  under  date  July  13,  issued  an  edict  to 
destroy  three  dangerous  strongholds — that  of  Tinnies,  in  Peebles- 
shire,  and  those  of  Harden  and  Dryhope  in  Selkirkshire.  In  no 
part  of  Scotland  was  there  any  feudal  keep  so  like  a  robbers' 
castle  on  the  Rhine  as  that  of  Tinnies,  which,  occupying  the 
summit  of  a  lofty  knoll,  towered  over  the  plain  of  Drummelzier, 
and  was,  in  all  respects,  a  fitting  residence  for  one  who  set 
the  law  at  defiance.  At  this  period,  it  was  occupied  by  James 
Stewart,  of  whom  we  know  nothing  from  the  records,  further 
than  he  was  connected  with  the  designs  of  Bothwell,  and  exposed 
himself  to  the  severest  penalties.  The  royal  warrant  for  the 
demolition  of  Tinnies  is  too  remarkable  not  to  be  given 

'At  Peebles,  i3th  July  1592. — The  Kingis  Majestic,  with  advice  of 
the  Lordis  of  his. Secret  Councale,  Givis  and  Grantis  full  power  and 
commission,  express  bidding  and  charge,  be  thir  presents  to  his  welbe- 
lovitt  William  Stewart  of  Traquair,  to  dimolois,  and  cause  be  dimoloist 
and  cussen  down  to  the  ground,  the  place  and  houss  of  Tynnies,  quhilkis 
perteint  to  James  Stewart,  sumtyme  of  Tynnies  ;  as  alsua  the  like  power 
and  commission,  express  bidding  and  charge  to  Walter  Scott  of  Gouldie 
Landis,  and  Mr  Jideon  Murray,  conjunctlie  and  severallie,  to  demolois, 
and  cause  be  demoloist  and  cussen  down  to  the  ground,  the  places, 
housses,  and  fortalices  of  Harden  and  Dryhoip,  pertaining  to  Walter 
Scott  of  Harden,  quha  with  the  said  James  Stewart  was  art  and  part  of 
the  lait  tressonabill  fact  perpetrat  against  his  hieness  awne  person  at 
Falkland.  And  that  the  forsaid  persons  caus  the  premisses  be  putt  in 
executioun  with  all  convenient  expeditioun,  as  they  will  answer  to  his 
hieness  upoun  their  obedience.' — P.  C.  R. 

Strangely  enough,  the  Tweedies  were  either  not  concerned  in 


Bothwell's  treason,  or  had  the  address,  by  aiding  the  king  in  his 
emergency,  to  escape  the  visitation  which  afflicted  their  near 
neighbour  at  Tinnies.  In  1592,  they  actually  appear  in  the  new 
quality  of  complainers,  instead  of  being  complained  against. 
They  had  suffered  losses  through  the  predatory  habits  of  one 
of  the  clans  Scott  on  the  borders,  and  the  circumstance  makes 
us  aware  of  the  wide  sweep  of  country  exposed  to  such  depre- 
dations. In  the  tone  and  character  of  injured  innocents,  the 
Tweedies  state  to  the  Privy  Council  that  the  Scotts,  though 
bound  to  keep  the  peace,  came  on  the  I5th  of  December  last  to 
the  lands  of  Drummelzier  and  Dreva,  and  took  from  them 
4000  sheep,  200  oxen  and  cows,  and  40  horses  and  mares,  also 
took  away  all  the  movable  goods  in  the  houses  of  tenants  to 
the  value  of  ^"2000.  The  Council  ordered  Sir  John  Edmonston 
of  that  Ilk,  cautioner  for  the  Scotts,  to  bring  them  forward  to 
answer  these  grave  charges. 

At  the  close  of  1592,  the  Tweedies  revert  to  their  true  charac- 
ter. We  learn  from  an  entry  in  the  Record,  that  they  had 
perpetrated  quite  as  deliberate  a  murder  as  that  committed  by 
them  less  than  two  years  previously  near  the  castle  of  Neidpath. 
Their  victim  on  this  occasion  was  one  of  the  Geddeses,  with 
whom  they  were  at  feud,  and  the  scene  of  the  atrocity  was  at  a 
blacksmith's  door  in  the  Cowgate  of  Edinburgh.  As  usual,  the 
case  comes  before  the  Council  by  a  complaint.  Mary  Veitch, 
relict,  Charles  Geddes  of  Rachan,  brother,  with  the  bairns, 
remaining  brother,  and  friends  of  the  late  James  Geddes  of 
Glenhegdon,  state  that  '  it  is  not  unknawne  how  mony  slauchters 
have  been  committit  upon  them  by  James  Tuedy  of  Drummel- 
zeair  and  his  friends,'  notwithstanding  bonds,  promises,  and 
assurances  to  the  contrary  ;  and  now  he  has  committed  the  bar- 
barous murder  of  the  said  James  Geddes  within  the  burgh  of 
Edinburgh.  For  '  the  space  of  aucht  days '  together,  Tweedy  and 
his  companions  publicly  haunted  the  streets  and  closes  waiting 
for  an  opportunity  to  slay  the  Laird  of  Glenhegdon ;  and  having, 
by  means  of  spies,  watched  the  said  laird  near  his  lodgings,  and 
found  that  on  the  29th  of  December  last  he  was  '  in  the  Cowgait 


at  David  Lindsay's  buith  shoeing  his  horse,  being  altogether 
careless  of  his  awne  suretie,  Drummelzier  dividit  his  hail 
friendis  and  servandis  in  twa  cumpanyis,  and  directit  John 
and  Robert  Tuedyis,  his  brether  germaine,  Patrick  Porteous 
of  Hawkshaw,  John  Creichtoun  of  Quarter,  Charles  Tuedy, 
household  servand  to  the  said  James,  and  Hob  Jardin,  to 
go  to  Conis  Close,  being  direct  opposite  to  Lindsayis  buith, 
and  he  himself,  accumpanyed  with  Mr  John  and  James 
Tuedyis,  sones  to  the  gudeman  of  Dreva,  past  to  the  Kirk  Wynd, 
being  a  little  bewest  the  said  buith,  to  await,  that  the  said  James 
might  not  escape  ;  and  baith  the  cumpanyis  being  convenit  at 
the  fute  of  the  said  cloises,  rinding  the  said  James  standing  at 
David  Lindsayis  buith  dor  with  his  bak  to  thame,  they  rucheit 
oute  of  the  said  cloises,  and  shamefullie,  cruellie,  and  unhon- 
nestlie,  with  schottis  of  pistollettis  murdereit  and  slew  him 
behind  his  bak.'  The  parties  accused  not  compearing  are 
denounced  and  escheat.  Tweedie  was  afterwards  secured,  but 
with  the  ordinary  result.  In  June  1593,  he  was  a  prisoner  in 
Edinburgh  Castle,  and  Sir  Michael  Balfour  of  Burley  became 
security  that,  on  being  liberated,  he  would  within  48  hours  enter 
himself  in  ward  in  Fife,  there  to  remain  during  His  Majesty's 
pleasure. — P.  C.  R. 

1593,  Sep.  u. — Proclamation  at  Stirling  to  meet  the  king  at  Peebles 
on  i  November,  for  pursuit  and  punishment  of  rebels. — P.  C.  R. 

1593-94,  Feb.  14. — The  assassination  of  the  Laird  of  Glenhegdon  is 
again  before  the  Privy  Council.  Charles  Geddes  of  Rachan  for  himself, 
and  as  procurator  for  Margaret  Veitch,  relict  of  James  Geddes  of  Glen- 
hegdon, produces  a  copy  of  summons  at  the  instance  of  John  Creich- 
toun of  Quarter,  and  Patrick  Porteous  of  Hawkshaw,  charging  him  and 
the  said  Margaret  Veitch  to  appear  on  7  Feb.,  and  shew  letters  of 
horning  they  had  raised  against  the  said  John  Creichtoun  and  Patrick 
Porteous,  for  not  compearing  to  answer  touching  the  murder  of  the 
said  James  Geddes— and  to  hear  said  letters  suspended.  Neither 
Crichtoun  nor  Porteous  appearing,  the  Lords  denounce  them,  and  order 
them  to  be  put  to  the  horn  ;  also,  that  James  Tweedy  of  Drummelzier, 
cautioner  for  their  appearance,  be  prosecuted  for  penalties. — P.  C.  £. 

In  1595,  there  occurred  a  regular  and  public  combat  on  Edston 


Haugh,  a  field  on  the  north  bank  of  the  Tweed,  about  a  mile 
from  Neidpath.  The  cause  of  this  passage-of-arms  was  a  sup- 
posedly insulting  speech,  addressed  by  John  Brown  of  Hartree 
to  George  Hepburn,  a  page  of  James  Lord  Yester.  Of  this 
remarkable  duel,  for  which  due  authority  had  been  obtained,  the 
following  account  is  given  in  the  Domestic  Annals  of  Scotland^ 
quoting  from  an  historical  manuscript  concerning  the  Hays  of 
Tweeddale.  '  The  two  combatants  [Brown  and  Hepburn]  were  to 
fight  in  their  doublets,  mounted  with  spears  and  swords.  Some 
of  the  greatest  men  of  the  country  took  part  in  the  affair,  and 
honoured  it  with  their  presence.  The  Laird  of  Buccleugh 
appeared  as  judge  for  Brown  ;  Hepburn  had,  on  his  part,  the 
Laird  of  Cessford.  The  Lords  Yester  and  Newbottle  were 
amongst  those  officiating.  When  all  was  ready,  the  two  com- 
batants rode  full  tilt  against  each  other  with  their  spears,  when 
Brown  missed  Hepburn,  and  was  thrown  from  his  horse  with 
his  adversary's  weapon  through  his  body.  Having  grazed  his 
thigh  in  the  charge,  Hepburn  did  not  immediately  follow  up  his 
advantage,  but  suffered  Brown  to  lie  unharmed  on  the  ground. 
"  Fy  !"  cried  one  of  the  judges  ;  "  alight,  and  take  amends  of  thy 
enemy  !  "  He  then  advanced  on  foot  with  his  sword  in  his  hand 
to  Brown,  and  commanded  him  to  confess  the  truth.  "Stay," 
cried  Brown,  "  till  I  draw  the  broken  spear  out  of  my  body." 
This  being  done,  Brown  suddenly  drew  his  sword,  and  struck  at 
Hepburn,  who  for  some  time  was  content  to  ward  off  his  strokes, 
but  at  last  dealt  him  a  backward  wipe  across  the  face,  when  the 
wretched  man,  blinded  with  blood,  fell  to  the  ground.  The 
judges  then  interfered  to  prevent  him  being  further  punished  by 
Hepburn  ;  but  he  resolutely  refused  to  make  any  confession.' 

1599,  Sept.  4. — William  Horsburgh  of  Edderston  having  raised  letters 
against  the  provost  and  bailies  of  Peebles  on  the  score  of  some  indem- 
nity, but  having  failed  to  appear  before  the  Privy  Council  to  support  his 
case,  '  James  Neving,  as  procuratour  for  the  saidis  provost  and  bailies, 
protestit  in  respect'  of  Horsburgh 's  non-appearance,  and  craved  that 
there  might  be  no  further  proceedings  without  a  new  summons.  Protest 
admitted.—/*.  C.  R. 

1  Vol.  L  p.  265. 


1599,  Sep.  8. — In  a  proclamation  to  the  inhabitants  to  assist  the 
warden   of  the   West   March,   William,  Earl   of  Angus,   those   of  his 
'  wardanrie,'  and  of  Kyle,  Carrick,  the  Upper  Ward  of  Clydesdale,  and 
the  sheriffdom  of  Peebles,  are  ordered  to  meet  at  Dumfries  on  22  Sep. — 
P.  C.  jR. 

Unsupported  by  police  or  standing  army,  James  VI.,  as  is 
evident  from  royal  proclamations,  had  to  depend  on  the  services 
of  the  gentry  and  their  retainers  for  maintaining  his  authority ; 
and  nothing  conveys  so  impressive  an  idea  of  the  abjectness  of 
the  sovereign  at  this  period,  as  the  circumstance  of  his  inviting 
the  Tweedies  to  assist  him  with  their  counsel. 

1600,  July  28. — Among  parties  summoned  to  meet  the  king  and  his 
Privy  Council  at  Falkland  on  1 1  August,  to  give  '  thair  advice  anent 
repressing  the  turbulent  borderers,'  are  James  Tweedy  of  Drummelzier, 
Tweedy   of  Dreva,  and  William  Veitch  of  Dawick ;  of  these,  James 
Tweedy  is  ordered  to  place  himself,  with  his  retainers,  in  the  castle  of 
Drummelzier,   and   William   Veitch   within   the    castle    of   Dawick. — 
P.  C.  J?. 

Notice  has  been  taken  of  the  taxation  of  the  county  according 
to  the  Old  Extent.  In  1556,  a  new  tax-roll  was  made  up  by 
properly  appointed  commissioners,  and  this  remained  long  in  use. 
From  what  follows,  it  will  be  seen  that  a  dispute  occurred 
concerning  taxation,  which  was  settled  by  an  appeal  to  the 
roll  of  1556.  The  case  is  noticed  by  Thomson  in  his  Paper  on 
the  Old  Extent,  already  referred  to,  and  was  as  follows  : 

1602,  Jan.  12. — Sir  John  Murray  of  Eddleston  complains  that  James 
Lord  Hay  of  Yester,  principal  sheriff  of  Peeblesshire,  had,  through  his 
depute,  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  imposed  on  his  lands  an  undue  propor- 
tion of  the  100,000  merks  for  which  the  county  was  assessed.  Sir  John 
proceeds  to  say  that  he  had  been  charged  '  48  pundis  of  money  of  the 
realme  for  his  pairt  of  the  said  taxatioun  of  his  landis  of  Blakbarrony 
with  the  annexis  thairof,  videlicet,  Kingisland,  and  for  his  pairt  of  the 
landis  of  Curhoip,  and  his  landis  of  Deane  and  Eister  Quhytlaw ' — all  of 
which  he  alleges  should  be  taxed  to  .the  extent  of  only  32  pundis,  as 
may  appeir  be  ane  roll  maid  27  Januar  1556,  be  certaine  commissioneris 
appointit  be  his  Majestie's  umquhile  dearest  mother,  quene  of  the 
realme ;  Sir  John's  taxation  having  been  restricted  to  that  sum  on 
account  of  the  barrenness  of  the  lands  '  and  of  evill  nichtbouris,  being 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  123 

subject  to  the  incursionis  of  Liddisdaill,  Ewisdaill,  and  Annandaill. 
Nevertheless,  he,  Sir  John,  had  lodged  the  amount  of  the  whole  demand 
with  the  sheriff-depute,  and  now  prays  that  the  excess  be  returned  to 
him.  The  Lords  decide  that  the  former  tax-roll  of  1556  is  the  true  one, 
and  order  the  difference  between  32  and  48  punds  to  be  returned  to  Sir 
John  Murray. — P.  C.  R. 

It  is  observed  from  this  appeal,  which  we  have  greatly 
abridged,  that,  as  formerly  stated,  border  reivers  made  incursions 
as  far  as  Eddleston,  Courhope,  and  the  summit  of  the  Ringside 
Edge.  The  next  quotation  from  the  Records  reveals  the  not 
less  strange  fact  that,  when  complained  against,  the  reivers  could 
procure  letters,  or  legal  authority,  to  suspend  prosecution. 

On  the  2d  of  May  1602,  Sir  William  Stewart  of  Traquair 
complained  that  '  James  Scott  of  Quhythop  having  committit  an 
open  reiff  upoun  him,'  the  said  John  had  by  misrepresentation 
procured  letters  suspending  prosecution  for  the  offence.  Sir 
William  being  now  ready  to  go  into  the  case,  and  the  defender 
not  appearing,  is  denounced  rebel.  We  learn  by  a  subsequent 
entry  what  was  the  nature  of  the  stouthreif.  Scott,  taking 
advantage  of  Sir  William  Stewart's  absence,  had  gone  upon  the 
lands  of  Blackhouse,  and  '  lifted '  fifty  ewes  at  a  single  sweep. 
Scott  seems  to  have  been  a  slippery  person.  On  the  I7th  of 
June,  he  and  others  are  denounced  rebels  for  not  paying  to  the 
chamberlain  part  of  the  dues  of  Ettrick  Forest. 

1602,  Oct.  8. — The  king  having  gone  to  Dumfries  to  endeavour,  by 
judicial  proceedings,  to  punish  thieves  and  secure  tranquillity  in  the 
western  marches,  this  day  issues  a  proclamation  to  the  following  effect : 
Forasmuch  as  His  Majesty  has  appointed  justice-courts  to  be  held 
within  the  burghs  of  Peebles  and  Jedburgh  on  the  i$th  and  26th  day  of 
October,  for  trying  and  punishing  the  many  enormities  and  insolences 
which  have  been  committed  during  several  years  byegone — as  His 
Majesty,  accompanied  by  a  number  of  his  council,  intends  to  be  present 
at  the  said  courts,  it  is  necessary '  that  His  Majestic  be  weel  and  substan- 
tiallie  accompaniet  with  a  force  of  his  guid  subjectis,'  therefore  ordains 
letters  to  be  direct,  charging  all  and  sundry  His  Majesty's  lieges  and 
subjects  between  saxty  and  sixteen  years,  and  other  fencible  persons,  as 
well  dwelling  in  burgh  or  on  land,  regality  and  royalty,  within  the 
sheriffdoms  of  Peebles,  Selkirk,  and  Roxburgh,  that  they  '  ilk  ane  of 


thame,  weel  bodin  in  feir  of  weir,'  meet  His  Majesty  as  follows — The 
inhabitants  of  Selkirk  and  Peebles  shires  at  Peebles,  Oct.  15,  and  the 
inhabitants  of  Roxburghshire  at  Jedburgh,  Oct.  25  ;  and  they  are  to  be 
provided  to  attend  on  His  Majesty  for  the  space  of  fifteen  days,  '  under 
paine  of  tinsel  of  life,  landis,  and  guids.'  On  this  occasion,  the  king 
visited  Peebles  and  Jedburgh,  and  was  able  to  execute  justice. 

Tweedie  of  Drummelzier,  who  has  hitherto  been  heard  of  chiefly 
in  connection  with  slaughters  and  other  heinous  offences,  is  now 
to  be  introduced  as  a  forcible  uplifter  of  the  rents  of  others  for  his 
own  behoof.  At  this  period  lived  Dame  Jean  Herris,  usually 
called  Lady  Skirling,  relict  of  Sir  John  Cockburn  of  Skirling, 
knight.  As  widow  of  the  proprietor,  she  possessed  certain  lands 
in  Haddingtonshire  and  at  Skirling,  with  legal  right  to  draw 
their  rents ;  notwithstanding  such  claims,  James  Tweedie  of 
Drummelzier,  who  had  married  the  relict  of  William  Cockburn 
of  Skirling,  set  about  forcing  Lady  Skirling's  tenants,  by  '  bang- 
strie  and  oppressioun,  to  cause  the  tennantis  to  pay  thair  maillis, 
and  thairby  frustrates  the  said  complainer  of  the  yeirly  maillis 
and  dewties,  being  the  best  pairt  of  her  rent  and  living,  whare- 
upon  she  now,  in  her  decrepit  and  decaying  tyme,  ought  to  be 
intertenyit.'  Besides  these  oppressions  on  her  tenants,  Lady 
Skirling  complains  that,  '  about  the  feist  of  Martymas  last,' 
Tweedie  came  upon  the  lands  of  the  Nether  Mains  of  Skirling, 
and  took  away  two  oxen  pertaining  to  her,  and  continues  heavily 
to  oppress  her  and  her  tenants,  '  she  being  ane  ageit  gentil- 
woman,  destitute  of  her  husband,  and  her  friendis  far  dwelling 
from  her.'  The  Lords  remit  the  matter  to  be  pursued  before  the 
Judge  Ordinary,  and  ordains  the  Laird  of  Drummelzier  to  find 
caution  for  the  indemnity  of  the  complainer  and  her  tenants. 

1603,  Feb.  24. — Complaint  to  the  Privy  Council  by  Adam  Veitch  in 
Fethane,  who  states  that  on  the  5th  instant,  William  and  Thomas  Scott 
of  Hundleshope,  with  others  their  accomplices,  'all  bodin  in  feir  of 
weir,  with  hacquebettis  and  pistoletts,  came  to  the  lands  of  Fethane,  and 
thair  cuttit  and  distroyit  the  said  complenaris  gangand  pleuch,  reft  and 
tuke  away  his  plew-irons,  and  schamfullie  and  unhonesthe  dang  his 
plewmen,  and  left  them  for  deid.'  The  complainer  proceeds  to  mention 
that  the  outrage  had  been  incited  by  Scott  of  Hayning  and  Scott  of 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  *I25 

Thirlstane,  who,  along  with  the  actual  perpetrators  not  appearing,  are 
denounced  rebels. — P.  C.  R. 

July  27. — At  a  court  of  justiciary,  Thomas  Horsburgh,  burgess 
of  Peebles,  was  accused  of  '  the  murder  of  William  Chisholme  in  Peebles, 
with  his  own  quhinger,  under  silence  and  cloud  of  night,  also  of  the 
theftous  stealing  of  ten  sax  li  peces  and  tuentie  merkis  in  quhite  silver, 
pertening  to  the  said  umqle  William,  under  his  bed-heid,  on  the  month 
of  March  last.  And  likewise  of  stealing  tuentie  tua  li  fra  his  guid- 
mother.'  The  assize  unanimously,  by  the  mouth  of  Michael  Hunter  of 
Polmood,  pronounced  the  panel  guilty  of  the  said  crimes — '  Sentence  to 
be  tane  to  the  Castell-hill  of  Edinburghe,  and  thair  to  be  hangit  on  ane 
gibitt  until  he  be  deid  ;  and  thaireftir  his  heid  and  richt  hand  to  be 
strukin  fra  his  body ;  and  his  heid  to  be  set  upoun  ane  pike  upoun  the 
stepell-heid  of  Peiblis;  and  his  richt  hand  to  be  put  on  the  Eist-port 
thairof ;  .and  all  his  movable  guidis  to  be  escheit.'  \ 

1604,  July  4. — '  Ane  grate  fyre  in  Peibleis  town.'     Such  is  the 
very  brief  notice  of  an  accidental  fire  in  Peebles  in  1604,  given 
by  Birrel  in  his  Diarey  of  events  in  Scotland  from  1532  till  1605, 
and  we  are  unable,  from  any  local  authority,  to  describe  the 
nature  or  the  extent  of  the  conflagration. 

The  oldest  known  tolbooth  in  Peebles  was,  as  its  name 
imports,  a  booth  or  building  for  taking  toll  at  one  of  the  gates. 
This  ancient  prison  is  understood  to  have  been  situated  at  the 
foot  of  the  Briggate,  in  the  line  of  the  town-wall,  such  being 
a  principal  entry  to  the  town  from  the  north.  Falling  into  decay, 
the  old  tolbooth  is  found  insufficient,  and  becomes  a  proper 
subject  of  remonstrance  by  the  Privy  Council. 

1605,  Oct.  25. — Hector  Cranston,  burgess  of  Peebles,  as  procurator 
for  the  provost,  bailies,  and  council,  makes  appearance  and  undertakes 
the  obligation  that,  '  within  the  space  of  tua  yeires,  they  sail  big  ane 
sufficient  and  suir  tolbuith  and  prisone  within  the  toun,  able  for  keiping 
of  all  sic  malefactouris  and  prisonairis  as  sail  happen  to  be  committit  to 
ward  within  the  same,  for  whom  the  toun  sail  be  alwyes  ansuerable,  and 
that  thair  said  tolbuith  sail  be  sufficientlie  providit  and  fumeist  with 
irnis  and  stokes,  under  the  pane  of  ane  thousand  pundis.' — /*.  C.  R. 

The  building  erected  in  obedience  to  this  order  stood  in  the 
High  Street,  opposite  the  spot  now  occupied  by  the  town-hall. 

1  Pitcairn's  Criminal  Trials. 


1606,  Aug.  22. — The  provost,  bailies,  and  council  of  Peebles  com- 
plain to  the  Privy  Council  that  John  Hay  of  Smithfield  had  interrupted 
them  in  the  '  bigging  of  ane  loft  and  seat  within  the  Croce  Kirk  of 
Peblis.'  The  Lords  remit  the  case  to  the  presbytery  of  Peebles  to 
examine  and  report ;  '  and  in  the  meantyme  the  said  complenaris 
and  the  said  John  Hay  to  disist  fra  bigging  of  the  said  dask  and  loft.' 
The  presbytery,  having  made  all  proper  inquiry,  report  that  the  com- 
plainers  had  proceeded  in  an  orderly  manner  to  make  their  '  dask  and 
seat ;'  also  that  '  the  said  John  Hay  has  na  farther  libertie  within  the 
said  kirk  nor  ony  other  gentleman  of  the  countrey ;  and  ordanit  the 
said  complenaris  onlie  to  give  him  libertie  to  set  up  ane  dask  and  seat 
within  the  said  kirk  in  the  first  vacance.'  In  absence  of  the  defender, 
the  report  is  allowed,  and  the  provost,  bailies,  and  council  are  permitted 
to  proceed  with  the  building  of  the  seat. — P.  C.  1?. 

1606,  Nov.  23. — James  Tweedy  of  Drummelzier,  and  various  others, 
are  summoned  to  the  Privy  Council,  on  nth  December  following,  to 
give  their  advice  as  to  the  best  means  of  keeping  the  peace  on  the 
borders.     Two  months  previously,  in  a  sweeping  act  of  justice,  George, 
Earl  of  Dunbar,  had  caused  upwards  of  140  of  the  boldest  border 
outlaws  to  be  hanged. — P.  C.  R. 

1607,  Jan.  29. — A  complaint  is  before  the  Privy  Council,  from  which 
it  is  incidentally  learned  that,  some  time  previous  to  September  1601, 
James  Govan,  proprietor  of  Cardrona,  had,  in  the  course  of  a  local  feud, 
been  slain  by  John  Scott,  brother  to  Walter  Scott  of  Tushielaw.     Of  this 
murder,  John  Scott  was  still  '  unrelaxt.' — P.  C.  R. 

1607,  Sept.  3. — Tweedy  of  Drummelzier,  who,  less  than  a  year  ago, 
was  thought  fit  to  aid  the  public  authorities  in  securing  peace,  is  now 
himself  the  subject  of  complaint.     Thomas  Halden  of  that  Ilk,  and 
Thomas  Porteous  of  Glenkirk,  become  bound  for  James  Tweedy  of 
Drummelzier,  that  he,  for  himself  and  his  friends,  shall  keep  the  king's 
peace,  keep  the  country  in  quietness,  and  in  no  way  molest  Sir  David 
Lindsay  of  Edzell,  his  son,  and  friends  who  are  answerable  and  at  horn 
for  the  slaughter  of  the  deceased  Lord  of  Spynie,  under  pain  of  5000 
merks  ;  and  James  Tweedy  binds  himself  to  observe  the  same.     A  few 
days  later,  the  Lindsays  are  similarly  bound  not  to  molest  Tweedy  and 
his  friends. — P.  C.  R. 

1608,  Jan.  7. — The  Privy  Council,  finding  that  an  assurance  subscribed 
by  Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  on  the  one  part,  and  Mr  Archibald 
Douglas,  parson  of  Peebles,  on  the  other  part,  is  now  expired  and  outrun, 
'  albeit  the  variance  and  controversie  betwix  thame  is  not  removit  or 
tane  away,'  order  new  assurance  to  the  same  effect  be  forthwith  mutually 
subscribed.      On  the  2ist  of  the  same   month,  'Andro,  the  son  of 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  127 

Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  for  not  keeping  the  above  assurance, 
is  ordered  to  appear  before  the  Council,  '  to  underlie  sic  ordour  as  sail 
be  prescryvit  unto  him.'  Andro  disobeys,  and  on  the  4th  of  February  is 
denounced  rebel. — P.  C.  R. 

From  time  immemorial,  festivities,  including  horse-racing,  had 
taken  place  at  Peebles  on  Beltane-day,  the  1st  of  May;  but  such 
was  now  the  unsettled  state  of  the  country,  that  the  Privy 
Council  felt  itself  entitled  to  forbid  any  assemblage  in  the 
present  year. 

April  28. — Forasmeikle  as  the  Lords  of  Secret  Council  are  informit 
that  there  is  ane  horse-race  appointit  to  be  held  at  Peblis  the  -  -  day 
of  May  nextocome,  whereunto  grit  numbers  of  people,  of  all  qualities 
and  ranks,  intends  to  repair,  betwix  whom  there  being  quarrels,  private 
grudges,  and  miscontentment,  it  is  to  be  feint  that,  at  their  meeting  upon 
fields,  some  troubles  and  inconvenients  sail  fall  out  amangs  them,  to  the 
break  of  His  Majesty's  peace,  and  disquieting  of  the  country,  without 
remeed  be  providit ;  therefore  the  Lords  of  Secret  Council  has  dischargit, 
and  be  the  tenor  hereof  discharges,  the  said  horse-race,  and  ordains  that 
the  same  sail  be  nawise  halden  nor  keepit  this  year ;  for  whilk  purpose 
ordains  letters  to  be  direct,  to  command,  charge,  and  inhibit  all  and 
sundry  His  Majesty's  lieges  and  subjects,  by  open  proclamation  at  the 
mercat-cross  of  Peblis,  and  other  places  needful,  that  nane  of  them  to 
convene  and  assemble  themselves  to  the  said  race  this  present  year,  but 
to  suffer  that  meeting  and  action  to  depart  and  cease,  as  they  and  ilk 
ane  of  them  will  answer  upon  the  contrary  at  their  heichest  peril. — 
P.  C.  X. 

April  28. — Alexander  Tait,  younger  of  Pim,  complains  on  account  of 
threatened  excommunication  by  the  Presbytery  of  Peebles.  He  says 
that  the  Presbytery  insists  he  shall  raise  the  corpse  of  the  late  George 
Tait  of  Innerleithen,  '  wha  was  buried  six  weeks  syne  within  the  kirk  of 
Innerleithen,  under  the  paine  of  excommunication  ;'  an  injunction  he 
remonstrates  against,  as  he  had  no  particular  part  in  the  burial,  but  only 
'  gave  his  presence  in  company  with  a  grite  number  of  barronis,  gentel- 
men,  and  common  people  ;  and  further,  it  is  aganis  Christiane  charitie 
to  raise  the  deid  who  have  been  past  six  weeks  in  the  grave  ;  and  it  will 
not  be  in  the  complenaris  power  to  get  that  corps  raisit,  becaus  he  is 
but  ane  mean  man  of  little  or  no  friendship,  and  the  said  George  has  a 
grite  number  of  friendis  about  the  said  kirk,  quho  will  not  suffer  him  to 
rais  the  said  corps.'  The  members  of  the  presbytery  not  appearing  to 
answer  the  complaint,  they  are  discharged  from  taking  any  proceedings 
against  the  complainer. — P.  (7.  R. 



Another  case  of  binding  over  to  keep  the  peace  by  a  set  of 
Peeblesshire  lairds  comes  up  in  the  Privy  Council,  May  17. 
Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  his  bairns,  kin,  and  friends  on 
the  one  part,  and  Gledstanes  of  that  Ilk,  and  Halden  of  that  Ilk, 
their  kin  and  friends,  on  the  other  part,  being  like  to  fall  out 
betwix  thame,  the  Lords  ordain  the  said  parties  'to  subscryve 
sic  forme  of  assurance  as  sal  be  presentit  to  thame,  to  endure 
unto  the  first  day  of  May  1609,  and  to  cause  cautionaires 
lykewyse  subscryve  the  said  assurance  under  the  pane  of  .£3000 ' 
Scots.— P.  C.  R. 

Fig.  24. — Horsbrugh  Castle  in  ruins  (1856). 

In  a  previous  chapter,  we  have  noticed  the  antiquity  of 
the  Horsburghs,  who  had  adopted  a  surname  from  their 
place  of  residence,  a  fortalice  picturesquely  situated  on  a 
mount  in  the  vale  of  Tweed,  at  the  distance  of  about 
two  miles  and  a  half  east  from  Peebles.  Residing  in  this 
their  castle  of  Horsbrugh,  now  the  dismally  shattered  ruin 
represented  in  the  above  sketch,  they  for  generations  occupied 
the  position  of  sheriff-depute  of  Peeblesshire,  and  there- 
fore, both  from  territorial  and  official  dignity,  were  reckoned 
among  the  magnates  of  the  county.  Startling  as  have 
been  some  of  our  revelations  of  past  manners,  perhaps 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  129 

none  is  more  so  than  those  respecting  the  Horsburghs,  who, 
emulating  the  disorderliness  of  the  Lords  Yester,  sheriffs-prin- 
cipal, exposed  themselves  to  public  complaint  in  connection  with 
feuds,  brawls,  and  slaughters.  Already,  as  has  been  seen,  they 
had  to  subscribe  an  assurance  to  keep  the  peace,  and  now  one  of 
them  becomes  answerable  to  a  charge  of  a  criminal  nature.  On 
the  /th  of  July  1608,  William  Horsburgh,  brother  to  Alexander 
Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  is  accused  before  the  Privy  Council  of 
having  slaughtered  James  Douglas,  son  of  '  Maister  Archibald 
Douglas,  archdeacon  of  Glasgow.'  For  this  heavy  offence,  he 
had  been  denounced  rebel  on  the  I4th  and  i6th  of  May,  and 
being  still  at  large,  the  Lords  ordain  the  captain  of  His 
Majesty's  guard  to  bring  him  to  justice,  and  to  '  tak  his  houssis, 
and  remove  his  servandis  and  familie  furth  thairof,  mak  inven- 
tuir  of  his  guidis  and  geir  thairintill,  and  to  reporte  the  same 
to  His  Majestie's  theasaurer.' — P.  C.  R. 

1608,  Nov.  3. — Mr  Archibald  Douglas,  parson  of  Peebles,  Mr  James 
Douglas,  his  son,  James  Elliot,  his  sister's  son,  Steven,  William,  and 
John  Robesens  in  Eschailles,  James  Horsburgh,  thair,  Adam  and  John 
Winterhoipis,  thair,  James  Newton,  and  Thomas  Smyth,  complain  to  the 
Privy  Council  on  the  score  of  excessive  caution-money ;  but  what  is  the 
offence  with  which  they  are  charged,  is  not  stated.  A  prosecution  had 
been  raised  against  them,  at  the  instance  of  the  provost,  bailies,  council, 
and  community  of  Peebles ;  and  from  Douglas,  his  son,  and  some  others, 
security  had  been  demanded  to  the  extent  of  ^"1000  Scots,  the 
remainder  500  merks.  Now,  they  allege  '  these  sowmes  ar  far  above  the 
sowmes  appointit  be  the  act  of  parliament,  and  the  said  Mr  Archibald 
Douglas  is  ane  minister  having  no  leving  bot  stipend  for  serving  of 
the  cure  at  the  said  kirk,  and  Mr  James  Douglas  hes  not  ony  leving,  but 
sic  as  his  father  pleisis  to  bestow,  and  the  remanent  personis  are  but 
pure  laboureirs,  not  valiant  in  ane  hundredth  merkis  of  frie  gier.'  Parties 
appearing  by  their  procurators,  the  Lords  find  that  the  penalty  imposed 
on  Douglas,  his  son,  and  nephew  should  not  be  modified  ;  the  rest  to 
find  caution  under  a  penalty  of  .£100  Scots  each. — P.  C.  R. 

Dec.  22. — James  Ker,  servitor  to  the  Laird  of  Fernyhirst,  repre- 
sents to  the  Privy  Council  that  on  the  i2th  of  March  last,  'he  being 
within  the  burgh  of  Peblis,  thair  doing  his  lauchful  aflfairis,  James 
Govan,  brother  to  Govan  of  Cardrona,  and  William  Gibson  in  Kailzie- 
mylne,  with  swordis,  gantillatis,  plait  slevis,  and  other  wappenis  invasive, 



came  and  thair  upbraidit  the  said  complenair  with  mony  injurious 
speecheis,  and  them  with  drawn  swordis  invadit  and  perseuit  him  of  his 
lyff,  and  strak  from  him  the  mid  finger  of  his  left  hand,  mutillat  him 
thairof  and  of  the  haill  remanent  fingaris  of  the  same  hand,  and  hurte 
and  woundit  him  in  divers  utheris  pairtis  of  his  body,  to  the  effusioun  of 
his  blood  in  grite  quantitie,  and  had  not  faillit  to  have  slane  him,  were 
not  be  the  providence  of  God  and  his  awne  bettir  defence  he  eschaiped.' 
Defenders  not  appearing,  are  denounced  rebels. — P.  C.  R. 

Under  the  same  date  a  large  number  of  tenants  of  John 
Stewart  of  Traquair  having  failed  to  make  appearance  to  answer 
the  charge  of  non-payment  to  him  of  1000  merks  as  principal, 
and  IOO  merks  of  liquidate  expenses — possibly  on  the  score  of 
rent — are  denounced  rebels  by  the  Privy  Council.  The  case  is 
of  no  public  interest.  We  notice  it  only  for  the  purpose  of 
citing  an  instance  of  using  a  nickname  in  a  legal  record.  One  of 
the  defaulters  is  '  William  Rutherfurd,  callit  Nateis  Willie.' — 
P.  C.  R. 

1609,  May  25. — Mr  Archibald  Bow,  minister  at  Stobo,  sues  James 
Tweedy  in  Stank,  denounced  rebel  for  not  removing  himself '  fra  that 
pairt  of  the  said  complenaris  gleib  callit  the  Willie  Croft.'  Defender  not 
appearing,  the  captain  of  the  king's  guard  is  ordered  to  apprehend  and 
bring  him  to  justice. — P.  C.  R. 

About  this  period,  and  somewhat  later,  the  town  of  Peebles 
was  in  trouble  as  regards  education.  The  old  ecclesiastical 
endowments  which  should  have  been  partly  appropriated  for  this 
purpose  being  now  gone,  there  was  a  difficulty  in  keeping  up 
schools.  In  a  thin  quarto  printed  for  private  circulation,  purport- 
ing to  be  '  Extracts  from  the  common  good  of  various  Burghs  in 
Scotland,  relative  to  Schools  and  Schoolmasters  between  the 
years  1557  and  1634,'  we  find  the  following  particulars  regarding 
the  salaries  paid  to  the  schoolmasters  in  Peebles  from  1608  to 

1608. — Item,  To  Mr  John  Young,  skuilmaister,  for  his 

yierly  fee  and  chamber  mail  [lodging-rent],      .         .      ;£i°9  Scots. 
Item,  Given  to  the  doctor  of  the  skuill,    .         .         .          £  16      « 
Item  (1628-1634),  Given  to  our  scholmaister  and  doctour 

for  their  fees, 250  merks. 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  13! 

Two  facts  are  here  worthy  of  notice.  The  entire  salary  of  the 
schoolmaster  of  Peebles,  in  1608,  amounted  to  only  .£109  Scots, 
or  £g,  is.  8d.  sterling ;  and  there  was  a  functionary  belonging  to 
the  school  called  a  '  doctor,'  or  tutor,  one  of  whose  duties  was  to 
teach  singing,  for  which  service  he  received  the  munificent  annual 
salary  of  £i,  is.  ^d.  sterling. 

1609,  May  30. — Sir  John  Murray  of  Blackbarony  for  himself  and  Sir 
Archibald  Murray,  his  son,  produces  before  the  Privy  Council  a  summons, 
at  the  instance  of  '  Robert  Yousting  in  Mirrielawis,'  as  father,  and  rest 
of  the  kinsmen  of  the  deceast  Patrick  Yousting,  servitor  to  the  said  Sir 
John,  charging  him  for  detaining  the  person  of  William  Drysdale, 
servitor  of  the  said  Sir  Archibald,  and  so  preventing  his  trial  for  the 
murder  of  the  said  Patrick ;  and  protested  that  in  the  absence  of  the 
defender  nothing  should  follow  on  said  summons,  but  that  he,  Sir  John, 
and  his  friends  should  be  relieved  of  the  said  Drysdale.  Protestation 
admitted.—  P.  C.  R. 

1609,  June   6. — Mr    Archibald   Douglas,   parson    of    Peebles,   and 
Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  charged  to  renew  their  assurances  of 
peace  until  i  June  1610. — P.  C.  R. 

1610,  Feb.   22. — The   provost,  bailies,  council,  and   community  of 
Peebles  sue  Sir  Robert  Scott  of  Thirlstane  for  invading  their  lands  with 
a  number  of  men,  destroying  their  ploughs,  and  threatening  the  lives  of 
the  complainers.      The  Privy  Council  order  the  captain  of  the  king's 
guard  to  apprehend  the  parties  complained  against,  and  bring  them  to 
justice.—/1.  C.  R. 

1610,  Feb.  22. — The  presbytery  of  Peebles  complain  to  the  Privy 
Council  that  the  practice  of  burying  in  churches,  especially  the  church 
of  Innerleithen,  in  their  bounds,  was  continued,  in  spite  of  an  ordnance 
of  the  General  Assembly,  which  was  approved  by  the  King  and  Council. 
The  Lords  ordain  that  none  shall  bury  within  churches  but  those  who 
have  a  heritable  right,  or  shall  receive  the  consent  of  the  minister  and 
elders,  under  a  penalty  of  ^£40. — P.  C.  R. 

1610,  Aug.  30. — Which  day,  before  the  Privy  Council,  compeared 
'James  Vetch  in  Stewartoun,  and  having  humblie,  upon  his  kneis,  grantit 
and  confest  that  he  had  sclandcrit  Jonas  Hamiltoun  of  Quotquoit, 
and  Alexander  Hamiltoun,  his  brother,  in  stating  thame  to  have  bene  the 
outputteris  of  certane  guidis  and  geir  stowin  fra  Ramsay  of  Whitehill, 
and  thairfore  he  humblie  cravit  the  said  Jonas'  forgivenes  ;  lykeas  Jonas 
being  present,  forgave  the  said  James,  tuke  him  be  the  hand,  and  was 
reconsiliat  with  him.  And  siklyk,  compeirit  William  Veitch  of  Dawik, 
and  become  suritie  that  the  said  James  Veitch  sail  compeir  at  the  kirk 


of  Newbottle,  upon  Sunday  nixt  afoir  none,  and  thair,  in  presence  of 
parrochynnaris,  sail  confes  his  offence,  and  crave  thame  forgivenes, 
under  the  pane  of  ^1000 '  Scots. — P.  C.  R. 

1611,  Feb.  21 — Robert  Horsburgh,  burgess  of  Peebles,  complains  to 
the  Privy  Council,  that  on  the  7th  instant,  William  Scott,  son  to  Philip 
Scott  of  Dryhope,  with  his  accomplices,  to  the  number  of  twelve  persons, 
'  bodin  in  feir  of  weir,'  came,  under  cloud  and  silence  of  night,  about 
ten  hours  at  even,  to  the  complainer's  '  dwelling-house  within  the  said 
burgh,  quhair  he  and  his  familie  wer  repairing  to  thair  beddis,  and  thair 
perforce  enterit  within  the  said  house,  and  invadit  and  persewit  him  for 
his  bodelie  harm  and  slauchter,  gaif  him  mony  bauch,  bla,  and  bluidy 
straikis  on  divers  pairtis  of  his  bodie,  of  purpois  to  have  slane  the 
complenair,  quhilk  they  had  done,  wer  not  he  relevit  be  certane 
of  the  inhabitants.'  Defender  not  appearing,  is  denounced  rebel. — 
P.  C.  R. 

To  what  extent  William  Horsburgh,  brother  to  the  laird  of 
that  Ilk,  paid  the  penalty  for  his  transgressions,  does  not  appear. 
That  he  was  not  greatly  worse  than  the  other  members  of 
the  family,  appears  from  an  entry  in  the  Record,  June  27,  1611, 
when  there  is  a  serious  complaint  lodged  against  the  laird 
and  his  sons.  It  sets  forth  '  that  Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that 
Ilk,  and  Alexander,  William,  and  John  Horsburgh,  his  sons, 
have,  during  the  last  four  years,  worne  hagbutis  and  pistolletis, 
and  at  everie  tyme  thay  had  occasion  to  repair  from  thair 
awne  houses  on  horse  or  fute,  thay  came  nevir  ane  myle  without 
pistolletis  or  hagbutis  in  thair  handis,  as  also  ordinarilie  with 
swordis,  and  as  yet  continues  thair  violation  of  his  Hienes  lawis 

— in  so  far  as,  upon  the  day  of  June  instant,  Alexander 

Hay  wes  upon  the  landis  of  Sheilgrene,  without  company  or 
armour,  and  having  some  grudge  aganis  him,  thay  all  horsit, 
and  with  grite  speid  went  to  the  pairt  quhair  the  said  Alexander 
Hay  wes,  and  as  soon  as  thay  came  in  sicht  of  him,  thay  kuist 
thair  cloikis  frome  thame,  took  their  swordis  and  pistolletis  in 
thair  handis,  and  with  all  thair  speid  ran  toward  the  said 
Alexander  Hay,  chassit  him  ane  myle  towardis  ane  house  of 
his  fatheris,  and  had  not  he  left  his  horse  and  taken  to  his  fute, 
having  the  advantage  of  ane  hill  whiche  wes  not  verie  possible 
to  thame  to  wone  on  horsbak,  thay  had  not  faillit  to  have  slane 

JAMES    II.   TILL  JAMES  VI.  133 

the  said  Alexander  Hay.'  The  defenders  were  assoilzied  for 
want  of  proof. — P.  C.  R. 

The  preceding  complaint  of  Hay,  younger,  of  Smithfield, 
against  the  Horsburghs,  probably  led  to  the  case  which,  on  the 
nth  of  July,  comes  before  the  Council.  Alexander  Horsburgh 
of  that  Ilk  states  that,  on  the  2d  instant,  '  John  Hay  of  Smith- 
field,  Alexander  Hay,  heir  appeirand  of  Smithfield,  and  John 
Hay,  both  sons  of  the  said  John  Hay  of  Smithfield,  accompanied 
with  Archibald  Hamilton  and  John  Young,  servandis  of  the  said 
John  Hay,  Walter  Somervill,  servand  to  the  said  Alexander 
Hay,  and  William  Dickson,  younger  in  Smithfield,  with  utheris, 
with  swordis,  gantillatis,  plaitslevis,  steill  bonnetis,  jakkis,  lances, 
and  uther  wapponis,  came  to  the  said  complenair,  and  quhairof 
he  and  his  predecessouris  hes  bene  in  peacable  possession  thir 
mony  yeiris  bygane  past  memorie  of  man,  quhair  the  said 
complenair  his  cattail,  scheip,  and  bestiall  wer  for  the  tyme 
pasturing,  and  thair  set  lances  to  thair  thyis,  brak  at  the  said 
bestiall,  and  aftir  a  most  insolent  maner,  houndit,  chassit,  and 
drave  away  the  said  haill  guidis  and  bestiall  off  the  said  com- 
montie  of  Glentres,  and  hes  hurt,  bloodit,  and  deidlie  woundit 
a  grite  number  of  the  said  bestiall  in  the  flankis,  brochis,  and 
uther  pairtis  of  thair  bodyis,  quhairof  a  grite  mony  thairthrow 
are  liklie  to  die.'  The  defenders  were  assoilzied  upon  their  oath, 
to  which  the  truth  was  referred. 

The  feud  of  old  standing  between  the  Veitches  of  Dawick  and 
the  Tweedies  of  Drummelzier  was  still  unappeased  in  March 
1611,  and  besides  giving  trouble  to  the  Privy  Council,  surprises 
the  king,  who  now,  after  a  residence  of  about  eight  years  in 
England,  expected  to  hear  no  more  of  these  two  turbulent 
Peeblesshire  families.  The  Lords  of  the  Privy  Council  are  now 
ordered  to  call  before  them  the  principals  of  both  surnames,  and 
then  adopt  measures  for  removing  the  feud,  and  effecting  mutual 
reconciliation  between  them.  On  the  nth  of  the  same  month, 
Mr  Richard  Powrie,  minister  at  Dawick,  sues  William  Tweedie, 
who  was  in  prison,  for  uttering  reproachful  speeches  against  the 
king  and  Lords  of  Council,  and  for  pursuing  the  complainer  with 


the  intent  of  taking  his  life.  Some  of  the  king's  guard  are 
ordered  to  bring  Tweedie  from  the  tolbooth  of  Peebles  to 
Edinburgh,  there  '  to  be  wardit  in  the  theivis  hoill,'  and  to 
secure  a  number  of  witnesses  to  be  examined  in  the  case.  These 
witnesses  are  chiefly  tenants  in  the  parish  of  Stobo,  two  of  them 
being  '  John  Alexander  callit  Over  John,  and  John  Alexander 
callit  Nether  John.'  While  Tweedie  is  in  ward,  he  is  to  pay  his 
own  expenses. 

1612,  Sept.  ii. — James  Noble,  in  the  Eistburne  of  Stobo,  son  of  the 
deceased  John  Noble  there,  with  the  rest  of  their  kinsmen,  complain 
that  John  Scott,  called  the  Clerk  in  Elrig,  murderer  of  said  John  Noble, 
and  denounced  rebel  in  default  of  finding  security  for  his  appearance 
before  the  Council,  is  still  at  large.     The  Lords  order  the  captain  of 
the  king's  guard  to  bring  him  to  justice. — P.  C.  J?. 

1613,  July  15. — Sir  Robert  Stewart,  tutor  of  Traquair,  complains  that 
William  Haliburton  in  Whitrig,  denounced  rebel  for  not  appearing  to 
answer  touching  '  his  allegeit  presenting  of  ane  bendit  hagbute  to  the 
said  Schir  Robert,  avowing  to  shoote  him  thairwith,  gif  he  quarrillit  or 
fand  fault  with  him.'     The  Lords  order  the  captain  of  the  king's  guard 
to  bring  him  to  justice. — P.  C.  R. 

In  1615,  we  again  unpleasantly  hear  of  the  Horsburghs.  On 
the  nth  of  July,  'John  Johnstone  in  Lie' — probably  the  farm 
now  called  the  Lee,  parish  of  Innerleithen — complains  that  being 
one  day  lately  '  within  the  burgh  of  Peblis,  William  Horsburgh, 
son  to  the  Laird  of  Horsburgh,  came  to  the  said  complenair, 
feirslie  set  upon  him,  and  with  a  drawne  sword  shamefullie 
invadit  him,  gaif  him  a  deidlie  wound  on  the  head,  and  woundit 
him  in  divers  uther  pairts,  and  left  him  lyand  for  deid.'  Defender 
not  appearing,  is  denounced  rebel. — P.  C.  R. 

Little  more  than  a  month  afterwards,  the  Laird  of  Horsburgh 
complains  of  the  conduct  of  his  eldest  son,  who  seems  to  have 
been  quite  as  troublesome  a  youth  as  his  brother  William. 
Under  date  August  23,  1615,  the  laird  piteously  states  to  the 
Privy  Council,  '  That  Alexander  Horsburgh,  his  eldest  son, 
having  shaikcn  off  all  feir  of  God,  reverence  of  the  law,  and  that 
natural  regaird  and  dcwtie  quhilk  he  audit  to  his  said  father,  and 
being  unmyndful  of  the  exceeding  grite  favouris  whilk  he  bore  to 

JAMES    II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  135 

him,  and  of  the  mony  benefits  done  be  his  father  to  him,  he  hes 
verie  unnaturallie  behavit  himselff  to  the  said  complenair  thir 
divers  yeiris  bigone,  not  onlie  be  drawing  mony  unnecessar 
actions  of  pley  [law-pleas]  upon  him,  constraining  him  thairby  to 
tyne  his  tyme,  and  to  spend  his  geir ;  but  with  that  he  hes  socht, 
and  still  seikis  the  undoing  of  his  said  fatheris  house  and  leving, 
descendit  to  him  from  so  mony  progenitouris.  And  becaus  he 
perseives  that  his  father  and  his  other  bairnis  doeth  quhat  in 
thame  lyis  to  preserve  thair  fatheris  leving  from  utter  wraik, 
and  hes  frustrat  some  of  his  wicked  desynes,  he  hes  thairfore 
conseivit  siche  a  haitrit  that  nothing  can  content  him  but  thair 
lyves ;  and  his  said  father  fearis  that  he  will  attempt  some  violent 
purpois  aganis  his  lyfe,  as  namlie,  in  1610,  he  set  upon  Walter 
Horsburgh,  the  complenaris  son,  at  his  awne  yett,  with  a  drawn 
sword,  and  persewit  him  for  his  lyfe  a  long  tyme,  gaif  him 
fyve  deidlie  woundis,  and  has  mutilat  him  in  his  leg,  sae  that  he 
was  constraynit,  for  saftie  of  the  said  Walteris  lyfe,  to  send  him 
out  of  the  countrey  ;  and  at  Martymas  last,  the  said  Alexander 
lay  await  for  John  Horsburgh,  the  complenaris  son,  as  he  was 
coming  out  of  the  toun  of  Peblis,  and  presentit  ane  bendit 
pistollet  at  him,  quhilk  be  the  providence  of  God  having 
misgevin,  he  persewit  him  with  a  drawn  sword,  resolvit  to  haif 
slane  him,  wer  not  his  son  bettir  defence.'  This  young  scape- 
grace not  appearing  to  answer  the  charge  brought  against  him, 
is  denounced  rebel — a  circumstance  which  gave  the  incipient 
sheriff-depute  no  concern,  for  he  continued  to  go  about  as  usual, 
and  was  again  complained  of  by  his  father  on  the  25th  of 
January  1616.  The  captain  of  the  king's  guard  is  now  ordered 
to  apprehend  and  produce  him  ;  but  if  he  was  captured,  it  would 
only  be  to  be  liberated  on  giving  some  sort  of  security  for  future 
good-behaviour.  No  notice  is  taken  of  the  fact. 

1616,  Feb.  i. — James  Eistoun,  burgess  of  Edinburgh,  complains  that 
one  day  lately,  as  he  was  '  coming  from  the  Lynkes  of  Leith,  quhair  he 
had  bene  recreating  himselff  at  the  gowff,  to  the  burgh  of  Edinburgh, 
quhair  he  hes  his  residence,'  he  was  set  upon  by  James  Tweedy,  son  to  Mr 
John  Tweedy  of  Dreva,  who  '  invadit  him  with  a  drawn  sword,  gaif  furth 


mony  straikis  at  him,  cuttit  his  hat  and  cloik,  raschit  him  to  the  ground, 
and  reft  from  the  complenair  his  cloub,  quhairwith  he  defendit  himselff, 
and  thairwith  gaif  the  complenair  mony  bauch,  bla,  and  bluidy  strykis  to 
have  slane  him,  wer  not  he  stayit  be  certane  personis  thair  present.'  The 
Lords  order  Tweedy  to  put  himself  in  ward  in  the  tolbooth  of  Edinburgh 
within  six  days,  and  to  remain  there  till  freed  by  the  said  Lords. — 
P.  C.  X. 

1616,  Feb.  6. — Sir  John  Stewart  of  Traquair,  and  his  tutor,  Sir  Robert 
Stewart  of  Schillinglaw,  complain  that  Adam  Goold,  a  king's  messenger, 
who,  on  their  behalf,  was  executing  a  warrant  of  poinding  four  ky  and 
oxen,  against  William  Trumble,  younger  of  Bedrule,  had  been  unlawfully 
deforced  by  Thomas,  eldest  son  of  the  said  William,  and  George  Douglas, 
his  servand  ;  '  thay  not  onlie  stayit  the  said  messenger  fra  taking  away  of 
the  said  goodis,  bot  pat  violent  handis  on  the  said  messenger,  and  held 
and  detenit  him  houris  ;  lykeas  the  said  personis,  in  farder  contempt  of 
his  Majestic,  wore  hagbutis  and  pistollets.'  Defenders  not  appearing, 
are  denounced  rebels. — P.  C.  R. 

1616,  March  7. — Complaint  of  John  Govan  of  Cardrona — That  upon 
the  last  day  of  November,  Alexander  Horsburgh,  younger  of  that  Ilk,  as 
principal,  and  Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  James  Sandilands  of 
Bold,  and  James  Horsburgh,  wobster,  burgess  of  Peebles,  as  cautioners 
for  him,  were  denounced  rebels  at  the  complainer's  instance,  for  non- 
payment of  1200  merks,  of  which  they  remain  unrelaxt.  The  captain  of 
the  king's  guard  is  ordered  to  apprehend  them. — P.  C.  R. 

1616,  March  21. — John  Stewart  of  Traquair,  and  Stewart  of  Schilling- 
law,  complain  that  William  Trumble,  younger  of  Bedrule,  Thomas 
Trumble,  his  son,  and  George  Douglas,  his  servand,  denounced  rebels 
on  the  nth  instant,  are  still  at  large.  The  captain  of  the  king's  guard 
is  ordered  to  apprehend  them. — P.  C.  R. 

1616,  Nov.  14. — Mr  Alexander  Bow,  parson  of  Stobo,  complains  that 
James  Tweedie  of  Dreva,  who  was,  at  his  instance,  on  2oth  May  last, 
denounced  a  rebel,  '  for  not  payment  to  him  of  the  sowme  of  250  merkis 
money  for  Beltine  termes  payment  of  his  stipend,'  is  still  at  large.  The 
captain  of  the  king's  guard  is  ordered  to  bring  him  to  justice.  On  the 
1 6th  of  December,  Mr  Richard  Powrie,  minister  of  Dawick,  makes  a 
similar  complaint  against  Tweedy  and  his  son,  and  a  similar  order  is 
issued,  probably  without  avail,  for  there  soon  after  occur  several  cases  in 
which  the  Tweedies  are  in  ward  for  debt. — P.  C.  R. 

1616,  Dec.  16. — James  Thomson  in  Windidoris  complains  to  the 
Privy  Council,  that  being  in  the  burgh  of  Peebles  doing  his  lawful  affairs, 
the  provost  and  bailies  caused  tak  and  commit  him  to  the  tolbooth, 
where  he  is  still  detained  without  a  decreit,  he  being  His  Majesty's  free 

JAMES   II.   TILL   JAMES   VI.  137 

liege.  The  complainer  appears  by  his  procurator ;  and  as  the  provost 
and  bailies  do  not  appear  in  answer  to  the  summons,  they  are  denounced 
rebels.—/'.  C.  R. 

The  visit  of  James  VI.  to  Scotland,  in  May  1617,  caused  much 
ceremonious  rejoicing  among  the  lieges.  His  Majesty  entered 
the  country  by  Berwickshire ;  and  after  remaining  some  time 
in  Edinburgh,  and  making  several  excursions,  he  returned  to 
England  by  way  of  Glasgow  and  Dumfries.  In  this  final 
journey  towards  the  border,  he  did  not  take  his  state-carriage 
with  him,  perhaps  in  consequence  of  the  badness  of  the  roads, 
but  left  it  at  Edinburgh,  to  be  forwarded  through  Peeblesshire, 
so  as  to  meet  the  royal  retinue.  Accordingly,  on  the  8th  of 
July,  the  following  order  appears  in  the  Privy  Council  Records 
respecting  the  transit  of  this  grand  but  very  lumbering  machine  : 

Order  respecting  the  king's  carriage  and  household  stuff  now  lying  at 
Holyrood  House,  'that  the  same  sal  be  lifted  by  those  of  the  scheriffdom 
of  Edinburgh,  upon  the  iyth  July  instant,  and  caryed  thairfra  to 
Brughtoun  in  Twedale,  and  whereas  the  scheriffdom  of  Peblis  is  the  most 
adjacent  scheriffdom  that  can  assist  this  service,  and  carye  the  said 
carriage  from  Brughtoun  to  Dumfries,  whilk  service  will  require  50  horse 
or  thairby,  necessar  it  is  that,  according  to  the  order  tane  in  all  uther 
pairtis  whare  his  Majesties  progress  and  journey  lay,  that  the  scheriff  and 
his  deputis  see  this  service  performit.  Thairfor  ordanis  to  charge  the 
scheriff  of  Peblis  and  his  deputis,  and  Sir  Archibald  Murray  of  Dernhall, 
convenair  of  the  justices  of  peace,  and  the  inhabitants,'  with  the  due 
execution  of  this  royal  service. 

1617,  July  31. — William  Veitch  of  Lyne  complains  that,  '  upon 
occasion  of  ane  accident  whilk  fell  out  within  the  toun  of  Kirkurd 
laitlie,  quhair  Malcolme  Cokburne  and  Robert  Hamiltoun  were  hurte, 
the  said  complenair  was  tane  be  the  Laird  of  Skirling,  who  is  ane  privat 
person,  becaus  he  happenit  to  be  present,  and  he  hes  brocht  him  to 
Edinburgh,  and  committit  him  to  waird  within  the  hue  hous  of  the 
tolbuith,  and  nane  of  his  friendis  sufferit  to  have  access  unto  him.' 
Veitch  states,  in  addition,  that  he  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  hurting  of 
the  said  persons,  and  only  acted  as  a  '  reddair,  and  did  quhat  in  him  lay 
to  have  sinderit  thame.'  The  Lords  set  him  at  liberty,  on  finding 
caution  for  his  appearance  when  required. — P.  C.  R. 

On  the  22d  of  October  1617,  a  strange  case  comes  before  the 
Privy  Council  respecting  a  quarrel  about  rights  to  lands  in  the 


parish  of  Innerleithen.  Agnes  Lawder,  liferenter  of  the  lands  of 
Pirn,  and  Richard  and  John  Lawder,  her  sons,  complain  that 
John  Scott,  their  tenant  in  these  lands,  had,  along  with  his 
bairns,  brother-in-law,  and  servants,  resolved  to  seize  on  the 
heritable  possession  of  the  property  ;  and  because  this  unreason- 
able design  was  resisted,  '  James  Cairncross,  son  to  Charles 
Cairncross  of  Birksueip,  came  to  the  said  landis  of  Pirne,  and 
houndit  thair  bestiall  and  guidis  off  the  said  landis,  invadit  the 
said  Richard  'and  John  ;  gaif  John  a  nomber  of  strykis  with  a 
grite  fork,  quhairwith  he  fellit  him  deid  to  the  ground;  and 
strak  the  said  Richard  in  the  thie  with  quhingair  ;  and  Agnes 
Cairncross,  spous  to  John  Scott,  younger,  upon  the  24  day  of 
September  last,  upbraided  the  said  Agnes  Lawder,  hir  maistres, 
calling  hir'  by  a  most  opprobrious  epithet,  for  which  she  was 
summoned  to  appear  before  the  minister  and  elders  of  the  parish 
on  the  following  Sunday  ;  but  when  she  appeared  in  the  kirk, 
she  broke  out  worse  than  ever,  vowing  that  '  afore  she  sleipit,  she 
sould  gif  the  said  Agnes  better  caus  to  complain,  and  that  she 
sould  mak  hir  to  haif  a  cauld  armefull  of  some  of  hir  bairnis.' 
And  that  same  day,  she  convened  the  Scotts  and  Cairncrosses 
under  cloud  of  night,  and  with  spears  and  other  weapons,  the 
party  invaded  the  house  of  the  Lawders,  '  dang  the  said  Richard 
throw  the  airme  with  a  lance,  chaisit  him  and  his  bruther,  strak 
a  nomber  of  strykis  at  the  said  John  Lawder  with  drawne  swordis, 
quhairby  thay  have  mutilat  him  of  twa  fingeris  of  his  hand,  and 
left  him  and  his  said  bruther  for  deid.'  Defenders  assoilzied  for 
want  of  proof.  The  case  on  the  one  side  being  thus  disposed  of, 
next  comes  on  the  per  contra,  under  same  date. 

John  Scott  in  Pirn  ;  Agnes  Cairncross,  his  spouse  ;  Charles 
Cairncross,  and  one  of  his  servants,  complain  that  John  Lawder 
in  Pirn  came  to  the  lands  of  Birksuip,  and  there  invaded  the 
said  Charles  and  said  servant  '  with  a  grite  kent  [stick],  and  left 
him  lyand  on  the  ground  for  deid.'  And  further,  that  upon  - 
day  of  September,  being  Sunday,  Richard  Lawder  in  Pirn,  and 
John,  his  brother,  'came  by  way  of  hamesuckin  to  the  said  John 
Scottis  dwelling-house  in  Pirne,  and  thair  set  upon  him  with 

JAMES   II.   TILL  JAMES   VI.  139 

drawne  swordis,  on  purpois  to  have  slane  him,  quhilk  he  would 
have  done,  had  not  he  inclosit  himselff  within  his  awne  house  ; 
and  forgathering  with  the  said  Agnes,  his  spous,  thay  without 
pitie  persewit  hir  with  drawne  swordis,  and  gaif  hir  a  grite  wound 
in  the  heid,  quhairby  she  wants  a  grite  pairt  of  the  harne-pane 
[skull]  of  hir  heid,  and  left  hir  for  deid.'  Truth  of  the  averments 
being  referred  to  the  oath  of  the  defenders,  the  whole  matter  was 
denied,  and  they  were  consequently  assoilzied  ;  but  both  parties 
were  ordered  to  find  caution  to  keep  the  peace.  This  is  one  of 
numerous  examples  of  false  charge  or  perjury  coming  before  the 

1618,  March  19. — Anent  letters  raised  at  the  instance  of  the  provost 

and  bailies  of  Peebles,  complaining  that  upon  the of  February  last, 

John  Govan  in  Peebles  having  invaded  William  Porteous  in  Peebles 
'  for  his  bodelie  harm  and  slauchter,  and  being  commandit  be  Charles 
Pringle,  bailie,  to  go  to  waird,  hes  not  onlie  refusit,  but  most  insolentlie 
strak  the  bailie,  and  persewit  him  for  his  lyff,  for  the  quhilk  he  being  be 
the  nichbouris  tane  to  waird,  he  all  that  day  indirectlie  causit  suche 
friendis  as  he  had  in  the  said  burgh  to  brek  the  tolbuith  dure,  and  to 
tak  him  oute ;  lykeas  be  his  persuasine,  William  Gibsoun  in  Cailzie,  and 
William  Scott,  servitor  to  Paterson  of  Langcoitt,  came  under  cloud  and 
silence  of  nicht  to  the  tolbuith,  brak  up  the  duris,  and  tooke  the  said 
John  furth.'  Gibson  and  Scott  not  appearing,  are  denounced  rebels. — 
P.  C.  R. 

1618,  March  26. — Sir  Robert  Stewart  of  Schillinglaw  complains  that 
David  Stewart,  brother  to  James  Stewart  of  Tynnes,  a  cadet  of  the 
House  of  Traquair,  being  slain  by  Andro  Pringle,  son  to  the  deceased 
James  Pringle  of  Tynnes,  who  was  accidentally  accompanied  by  James 
Murray,  the  brother  of  Sir  John  Murray  of  Philiphaugh,  sheriff  of 
Ettrick  Forest,  Patrick  Murray  of  Kirkhouse,  and  John  Murray  of  New- 
hall;  and  this  slaughter  being  likely  to  produce  a  feud  between  the 
House  of  Traquair  and  Sir  John  Murray,  their  friends  and  allies,  Sir 
Robert  engaged  when  he  should  become  tutor  to  his  nephew  the  Laird 
of  Traquair,  to  entertain  overtures  of  continued  friendship  with  Murray. 
These  overtures  took  the  form  of  a  submission  (from  which  Andrew 
Pringle  was  excluded),  decreeing  by  arbiters  that  satisfaction  should  be 
made  to  the  children  of  the  deceased  David,  who  were  to  become 
bound  on  their  majority  to  sign  '  letters  of  slains,'  authorised  by  their 
tutors  and  curators.  Nevertheless,  John  Stewart,  son  of  the  deceased 
David,  and  now  major,  and  Alexander  Stewart,  son  of  James  Stewart 


of  Tynnes,  his  cousin-german,  refuse  to  sign  letters  of  skins,  and 
inclined  to  produce  a  feud  between  the  families.  The  defenders  not 
appearing,  are  denounced  rebels.  But  they  afterwards  appear,  sign  the 
letters,  and  the  decree  against  them  is  suspended. — P.  C.  R. 

1619,  July  20. — John  Stewart  of  Traquair  prosecutes  Walter  Turnbull 
of  Bedrule,  and  others,  for  unlawfully  cutting  down  and  taking  away  his 
woods.     And  on  Aug.  25,  he  prosecutes  the  Turnbulls  for  carrying  away 
'  30  darge  of  hay.'     Defenders  not  appearing,  are  denounced  rebels. — 
P.  C.  JR. 

1620,  March  30.' — The  provost  and  bailies  of  the  burgh  of  Peebles 
complain  that  on  the  loth  instant,  Beatrix  Ker  Lady  Gladstanes,  William, 
Robert,  and  James,  her  sons,  Robert  Dickson  in  Hundelshope,  Alex- 
ander Melros  there,  and  William  Ker,  plewman  there,  with  about  ten 
other  persons,  '  all  bodin  in  feir  of  weir,  came  to  the  commontie  of  the 
burgh  called  Kaidmuir,  quhair  some  of  the  inhabitants  were  occupied  in 
thair  lauchful  affairis,  upon  thair  awne  heritage,  and  thair  threatnit  thame 
with  death  gif  they  depairtit  not  the  ground,  and  did  quhat  in  thame  lay 
to  have  brokin  His  Majesties  peace,  and  to  have  committit  some  open 
insolence   against   the   complenaris.'      William   Elliote,   provost,   John 
Dickson,  bailie,  and  James  Williamson,  late  bailie,  made  appearance  as 
complainers.    Defenders  not  appearing,  are  denounced  rebels. — P.  C.  JR. 

1620,  Aug.  23. — William  Elliote,  provost,  John  Dickson  and  John 
Louis,  bailies,  and  Alexander  Mure,  treasurer,  and  the  whole  council  of 
Peebles,  apply  for  suspension  of  letters  of  horning  raised  against  them  at 
the  instance  of  Alexander  Lawder  of  Halton,  charging  them  to  find 
caution  for  his  indemnity,  or  for  that  of  John  Lawder  his  herd,  under 
penalty  of  3000  merks,  and  being  denounced  rebels — because  the 
penalty  far  exceeds  the  sum  specified  in  the  act  of  parliament.  Letters 
of  horning  suspended. — P.  C.  JR. 

For  some  years  about  this  period,  the  books  of  the  Privy 
Council  bear  frequent  entries  concerning  debts  incurred  by  the 
Tweedies,  with  denunciations  of  hornings  and  captions.  Pressed 
by  financial  difficulties,  they  begin  to  dispose  of  their  lands,  and 
the  clan  in  its  several  branches  would  otherwise  appear  to  have 
been  now  approaching  that  crisis  which  naturally  ensued  from 
generations  of  turbulence  and  defiance  of  the  law  ;  the  wonder 
really  being  that  they  had  not  long  since  been  swept  as  brigands 
from  the  county.  With  this  explanation,  we  are  not  unprepared 
for  the  following  strange  circumstances  connected  with  the  sale 
of  Halmyre. 

JAMES   II.    TILL  JAMES   VI.  14! 

1621,  July  21. — John  Murray  of  Halmyrc  states,  'That  he 
having  laitlie  bought  certane  landis  fra  James  Tweedie,  sometyme 
of  Dreva,  at  the  pryce  agreit  on,  and  so  thinking  in  peace  to 
have  possessit  his  landis,  it  is  of  a  treuthe  that  Thomas  Tweedie 
in  Dunsyre,  and  William  Tweedie  of  Scottistoun,  brether  to  the 
said  James,  resolved  to  force  the  complenair  to  buy  thair  kynd- 
ness  [that  is,  give  them  a  present  in  token  of  good-will  on 
acquiring  lands  from  their  kinsman],  or  then  to  haif  his  lyff,  or 
els  to  lay  his  landis  waist ; '  and  the  complainer  learning  that, 
notwithstanding  their  pretended  friendship,  they  cherished  some 
hatred  against  him,  he  raised  letters  of  horning  against  them  on 
10  May  last,  'quhairof  the  charge  was  no  sooner  execute,  but 
thay  avowit  that  thay  sould  haif  his  lyff,  before  thay  fand 
caution,  and  for  the  execution  of  this  thair  resolution,  thay 
upon  the  1 3  day  of  the  said  month  maid  search  for  the  comple- 
nair, about  his  house,  demanding  first  at  James  Tweedie  in  the 
Deaneis  of  Romanno  quhair  the  said  complenair  was,  and  thair- 

eftir  at  James  Smaill  and  Alexander ,  his  awne  tennentis  of 

Halmyre,  and  knawing  be  thame  that  he  had  riddin  to  the 
Walkfeild,  but  thair  finding  that  he  was  riddin  away,  the  said 
Thomas  sent  to  the  plais  of  Coitquoit  for  his  sones  best  horse, 
quhilk  being  brought,  he  and  his  bruthir  horssit  and  followit 
the  complenair  to  Lintoun,  and  fra  that  to  his  awne  house  ;'  there 
4  thay  drew  thair  sword  is,  and  before  the  complenair  was  able  to 
haif  maid  his  defence,  gaif  him  ane  grite  straik  upon  his  left  leg, 
by  the  quhilk  he  fell  to  the  ground,  and  being  lyand,  thay  gaif 
him  a  number  of  deidlie  straikis,  and  left  him  as  a  dead  man, 
and  threattnit  his  tennents  to  haif  thair  lyves  gif  thay  labourit 
the  said  landis.' — P.  C.  R.  The  defenders  were  ordered  to  be 
committed  to  prison  ;  but  it  will  immediately  appear  that  the 
order  was  not  executed. 

Same  dale. — Thomas  Tweedie,  portioner  of  Netherurde,  and 
William  Tweedie  of  Scottistoun,  complain  that  John  Murray  of 
Halmyre  having  lately  charged  them  to  find  legal  security  to 
keep  the  peace  towards  him,  they  attempted  to  settle  the  matter 
in  a  friendly  way,  but  he  having  in  company  with  James  Murray 


of  Romanno,  and  Thomas  Edmond  in  Slipperfield,  attacked 
them  at  the  Bromehouse,  between  Linton  and  Edinburgh,  and 
seriously  wounded  Thomas  Tweedie.  Defenders  assoilzied  on 
the  ground  that  the  pursuers  were  the  first  to  attack. — P.  C.  R. 

Same  date. — John  Murray  of  Halmyre  complains  that  John 
Tweedie  of  Dreva,  John  Tweedie  his  son,  feir  thairof,  Mr  James 
Tweedie,  portioner  of  Stobo,  Thomas  Tweedie  of  Dunsyre,  Mr 
John  Tweedie  of  Winkistoun,  John  Tweedie  of  Henderl ethane, 
Walter  Tweedie,  son  to  said  James  of  Dreva,  William  Tweedie 
of  Scottistoun,  Alexander  Tweedie  in  Broughtoun,  son  to  said 
John  Tweedie  of  Dreva,  and  William  Tweedie,  son  to  said  John 
Tweedie  of  Henderl  ethane,  all  denounced  rebels  for  not  finding 
caution  to  keep  the  complainer  skaithless,  are  still  at  large. 
Captain  of  the  king's  guard  ordered  to  apprehend  them  and 
bring  them  to  justice. — P.  C.  R. 

Amidst  these  scandalous  feuds,  which  reflect  little  credit  on 
the  past  history  of  the  county,  Peebles  received  from  James  VI. 
a  special  mark  of  his  favour,  by  being  granted  a  charter  not  only 
in  ratification,  but  in  extension  of  former  privileges  as  a  royal 
burgh.  In  this  important  document,  which,  confirmed  by 
parliament  November  17,  1641,  has  ever  since  remained  the 
palladium  of  the  town  in  its  corporate  capacity,  the  king 
graciously  refers  to  the  services  rendered  by  the  inhabitants,  'not 
only  by  defending  the  country  against  foreign  enemies,  but  also 
by  exposing  their  persons  and  estates  to  open  and  evident 
oppression,  as  well  by  struggling  on  the  borders  of  England  as 
of  Scotland,  and  likewise  the  great  prejudice  and  loss  sustained 
by  them  from  thence,  both  in  punishing  transgressors  and  other 
disturbers  within  the  bounds  of  our  kingdom,  their  city  being 
often  spoiled,  burnt,  and  laid  waste,  and  desolated,  lying  contigu- 
ous to  the  said  borders.'1  Looking  to  the  extensive  commons, 
including  Kingsmuir,  Caidmuir,  Hamildean,  Venlaw,  and  Glen- 
tress,  also  the  lands,  houses,  fishings,  multures,  customs,  and 
sequestrated  ecclesiastical  property  described  in  this  munificent 

1  For  the  charter  entire,  see  Appendix. 

JAMES   II.    TILL  JAMES   VI.  143 

charter,  we  might  be  justified  in  saying  that  few  burghs  in 
Scotland  had  its  existence  so  carefully  provided  for ;  and  further, 
that  a  history  of  the  alienation  of  so  much  wealth,  were  it 
possible  to  tell  it  minutely,  would  constitute  one  of  the  darkest 
chapters  in  the  annals  of  civic  maladministration. 

To  the  end  of  King  James's  life  he  was  destined  to  hear  of 
nothing  but  scenes  of  violence  and  contempt  of  law  in  Peebles- 
shire.  We  close  for  the  present  with  a  notice  of  three 
characteristic  incidents. 

1622,  Aug.  28. — Complaint  is  made  by  John  Tuedy  of  Winkiston, 
that  he  having  a  number  of  kye  and  oxen  pasturing  on  the  lands  of 
Broughtoun,  James  Pattersane  in  Myreburn  in  Dreva,  with  his  son  and 
others,  all  bodin  in  feir  of  weir,  came  to  the  complainer's  lands,  and  drove 
away  his  said  cattle  to  the  close  of  Dreva,  and  thair,  with  swords  and 
knyves  cut  the  tails  and  rumples  of  ten  or  twelf  of  the  poore  beasts,  sa 
shamefullie  mangling  them,  that  some  of  them  are  in  danger  of  their 
lyves.     Defenders  assoilzied  on  oath,  to  which  reference  was  made  by 
complainer. — P.  C.  R. 

1623,  July   10. — Complaint  by  John  Lord   Yester,    sheriff-principal 
of  county  of  Peebles,  that  George  Kerr,  sheriff-officer,  being  sent  on 
the  twentie  day  of  Januar  to  the  lands  of  Hawkshaw  to  poynd  the 
redyest  guides  pertaining  to  Patrick  Porteous  of  Hawkshaw,  for  his  pairt 
of  the  present  taxatioun,  and  having  apprehend  it  certane  catell  and  nolt, 
and  used  the  ordinar  forme  to   carry  them   to  the  mercat  croce   of 
Peebles,  there  to  have  publicly  sold  the  same,  the  said  Patrick  with  his 
servands  came  after  him  and  reft  the  said  guides,  and  strake  and  dung 
him,  wherefore  that  pairt  of  our  Soveraine   Lord's  taxatioun   is  yet 
unpayit.     Defender  not  appearing,  is  denounced  rebel. — P.  C.  R. 

1625,  Feb.  3 — John  Laidlie  in  Cramalt  having  employed  George  Ker, 
sheriff-officer,  to  effect  a  poinding  of  '  the  redyest  guides  pertening  to 
Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  in  satisfactioun  of  certane  soums,  the 
said  officer  past  upon  the  fyft  day  of  Januar  last  to  the  landis  of  Over 
Horsburgh,  and  apprehendit  certane  scheip  pertening  to  the  said  Laird 
of  Horsburgh,  whilk  after  he  had  appraised  upon  the  ground,  and 
maid  offer  thairof  to  the  partie  and  all  others  having  interest,  and  nane 
appearing  to  accept  of  the  same,  he  being  carrying  the  same  to  the 
mercat  croce  of  Peebles,  John  and  Robert  Horsburgh,  brethir  to  the 
said  Alexander,  with  thair  complices  to  the  number  of  xv.  or  saxtene, 
came  after  the  complenair  and  his  friendis,  and  having  overtaikin  thame 
at  the  East  Port  of  Peebles,  set  upon  and  prest  violentlie  to  drive  bale 



the  scheip ;  and  the  officier  and  his  witnesses  having  come  forwart  with 
the  scheip  to  the  mercat  croce  of  the  said  burgh,  the  said  personis  set 
upon  the  messenger  and  his  witnesses,  threatened  to  bereave  him  of  his 
lyfe  gif  he  medlet  any  farther  with  the  said  scheip,  lykewise  thay  not 
onlie  strak  out  diverse  straikis,  but  also  threw  at  them  a  number  of  greit 
stanes.'  Defenders  assoilzied  for  want  of  proof. — P.  C.  jR. 

In  the  above  affair,  Horsburgh,  as  sheriff-depute,  is  placed  in 
an  awkward  position.  Sheep  being  legally  carried  away  from 
his  lands  in  satisfaction  for  debt,  his  brothers  deforce  the 
officiating  messenger,  who  was  doubtless  acting  under  some  kind 
of  regular  warrant.  The  uproar  which  ensues  at  the  cross  of 
Peebles,  where  the  infuriated  Horsburghs  and  a  band  of  their 
accomplices  strike  and  throw  stones  at  the  unfortunate  messenger 
and  his  concurrents,  is  among  the  most  ludicrous  incidents  it  has 
been  our  fortune  to  bring  to  light. 


THE  accession  of  Charles  I.,  in  1625,  was  marked  by  no 
event  in  Peeblesshire  of  which  there  is  any  special  record. 
There  continued  to  be  occasional  feuds  among  the  gentry, 
who  had  not  yet  learned  to  submit  their  disputes,  in  all  cases,  to 
the  arbitration  of  law.  Things  in  this  respect,  however,  were 
mending.  In  the  reign  of  Charles  I.,  and  more  particularly 
during  the  Protectorate  of  Cromwell,  the  government  was  con- 
ducted with  more  vigour  than  it  had  been  previously.  The 
Justice  ayres,  which,  as  provincial  courts  of  justiciary,  had  visited 
Peebles  from  a  period  as  early  as  the  time  of  David  I.,  swept  off 
criminal  arrears  with  a  growing  and  somewhat  alarming  dis- 
respect of  rank.  The  sheriffs,  principal  and  depute,  conducted 
themselves  a  little  more  discreetly.  Above  all,  there  now  arose 
a  set  of  petty  spiritual  courts,  which,  on  the  ground  of  exercising 
church-discipline,  took  cognizance  of  every  department  of  public 
morals ;  and  there  is  now  presented  the  amusing  spectacle  of 
irascible  and  rebellious  lairds  so  cowed  into  subjection  as 
to  pillory  themselves  barefoot  on  the  stool  of  repentance  at 
the  orders  of  a  parish  kirk-session.  Fortunately,  when  facts 
of  this  kind  are  needed  to  supplement  our  too  meagre  nar- 
rative, we  are  able  to  resort  to  two  Records — those  of  the 
Presbytery  of  Peebles,  and  of  the  several  kirk-sessions  through- 
out the  county.  To  do  the  spiritual  dignitaries  of  the  shire  justice, 



whatever  we  may  think  of  their  intelligence  and  taste,  they 
meant  well — an  excuse  of  extensive  application — and  assuredly 
they  did  not  exceed  the  limits  permitted  by  the  General 
Assembly  and  Parliament.  Three  things,  inter  alia,  they 
endeavoured  with  ceaseless  urgency  to  effect — to  extirpate  the 
old  superstitious  practices  which  still  lingered  among  the  common 
people ;  to  hunt  down  and  burn  witches ;  and  to  compel  a  scrupu- 
lous attention  to  the  weekly  Sabbath.  The  records  before  us 
abound  in  so  many  entries  concerning  these  grave  subjects,  that 
we  can  do  no  more  than  make  a  selection  of  extracts.  The  first 
two  refer  to  that  curious  method  of  vaticination  called  '  turning 
the  riddle/  which  had  for  its  object  the  discovery  of  a  thief. 

1626,  July  6. — Which  day  compeared  before  the  Presbytery  Janet 
Henderson  in  Blythe,  within  the  parish  of  Linton,  and  accused  of 
'  turning  the  riddle,'  confessed  the  same,  and  came  in  the  will  of  the 
Presbytery.  She  was  ordained  to  stand  six  Sabbath-days  at  the  kirk-door 
and  place  of  public  repentance  at  the  kirk  of  Linton,  with  her  feet  bare, 
and  clothed  in  sackcloth,  to  begin  the  next  Sabbath.  There  publicly  to 
confess  her  sins,  and  that  sin  in  particular,  and  that  she  has  been  an 
odious  and  vile  deceiver  of  the  people.  And  farther,  the  said  Janet  was 
bound  and  obliged  herself,  that  if,  in  any  time  hereafter,  she  should  be 
found  doing  the  like,  or  using  any  such  charms,  she  should  be  held 
guilty  of  witchcraft,  and  suffer  accordingly. — P.  R. 

Same  day. — Richard  Johnstone  in  Slipperfield,  and  Helen  Hay,  his 
spouse,  parishioners,  were  delated  under  suspicion  of  'turning  the 
riddle,'  and  were  summoned  to  the  next  meeting.  They  were  prevented 
doing  so  by  sickness,  and  latterly  by  the  death  of  the  woman.  The 
whole  case  was  referred  to  the  session  of  Linton. — P.  R. 

The  charm  of  '  turning  the  riddle'  was  practised  in  the  follow- 
ing manner.  A  pair  of  scissors  was  stuck  in  the  rim  of  the 
riddle,  with  a  string  through  their  eyes,  in  which  two  persons  put 
each  his  forefinger,  and  suspended  the  riddle  between  them, 
and  after  spitting  east,  west,  north,  and  south,  they  said : 

'  By  St  Peter  and  St  Paul, 
By  the  virtues  of  them  all, 
If  it  was  Rob  that  stealed  the  plaid, 
Turn,  riddle,  turn." 

If  'Rob'  were  the  thief  the  riddle  turned  at  the  mention   of 


his  name,  and  thus  the  delinquent  was  detected.  We  are 
informed  that  a  riddle  was  in  this  manner  turned  about  fifty 
years  ago,  when  the  shop  of  a  shoemaker  in  Peebles  was 
broken  into,  for  the  purpose  of  discovering  who  was  the 

In  the  present  latitudinarian  age,  people  are  allowed  to  select 
the  place  of  public  worship  which  they  are  pleased  to  attend  ; 
but  in  the  reign  of  Charles  I.,  every  one  had  punctiliously  to 
keep  to  his  own  parish  church  under  pain  of  censure. 

On  the  I4th  of  September  1626,  Mr  Richard  Powrie,  minister 
of  Dawick,  complained  to  the  Presbytery  that  the  Laird  of 
Dawick  did  not  attend  his  own  parish  kirk.  This  being  a 
serious  charge,  the  members  appoint  a  committee  of  four  of  their 
number  to  wait  on  the  said  laird,  and  ask  his  reasons  for  this 
extraordinary  conduct,  and  what  he  intended  to  do  hereafter. 
The  report  of  the  committee,  which  is  brought  up  on  the  4th  of 
October,  bears  that  the  laird  is  very  obstinate.  Much  displeased, 
the  Presbytery  cited  the  laird  to  appear  at  next  meeting,  which 
he  neglected  to  do,  and  also  failed  to  appear  to  answer  the 
charge  against  him  on  several  subsequent  occasions.  At  length, 
properly  worn  out,  the  laird  gave  in  his  reasons  for  not  attending 
his  own  parish  kirk,  but  with  these  the  brethren  were  not 
satisfied,  and  issued  an  edict  strictly  enjoining  the  laird  '  to  keep 
to  his  own  kirk '  in  all  time  coming,  under  pain  of  censure,  unless 
he  could  give  some  valid  excuse. — P.  R. 

A  similar  case  occurs  in  the  Presbytery  record,  October 
19,  1626.  Thomas  Hay  of  Scroggs,  a  place  in  the  parish  of 
Lyne,  was  complained  of  by  Mr  Thomas  Hog,  minister  of  Stobo, 
for  not  keeping  to  his  own  parish  kirk,  and  for  frequenting  other 
kirks.  The  delinquent  happening  to  be  present,  and  hearing 
the  accusation  against  him,  declared  that  he  did  not  haunt  the 
kirk  of  Stobo,  though  it  was  true  he  frequented  other  kirks  as 
occasion  offered  ;  besides,  he  really  did  not  know  which  was  his 
own  parish  kirk,  as  it  was  doubtful  whether  Scroggs  was  in 
Stobo  or  Lyne.  The  Presbytery  decided  that  Scroggs  was  in 
Lyne,  and  the  church  of  that  parish  he,  the  said  Thomas  Hay, 


must  attend  in  future.  At  the  same  time,  a  general  injunction  is 
issued  to  the  effect  that  every  one  must  attend  his  own  parish 
kirk,  and  no  other. — P.  R, 

Nov.  2. — James  Douglas  of  Cowthropple,  a  place  in  the 
parish  of  Newlands,  is  accused  before  the  Presbytery  of  absenting 
himself  from  the  kirk-session,  of  which  he  was  a  member. 
Douglas  stated  in  defence,  that  he  had  quitted  the  session 
on  the  occasion  of  ane  great  wrong  he  had  sustained  at  the  hands 
of  Andro  Murray  of  Romanno,  one  of  his  fellow-elders,  who,  ia 
the  time  of  the  sitting,  within  the  house  of  the  Lord,  had  called 
him  a  liar  to  his  face.  The  complaint  given  in  was  that  Murray 
had  said  to  Douglas,  in  the  hearing  of  all  the  people,  that  his 
wife's  waistcoat  was  not  honest,  and  neither  was  any  of  his  gear 
or  that  of  his  parents,  or  of  any  Douglas  in  Scotland.  Murray 
denied  having  uttered  these  offensive  expressions,  but  admitted 
having  said  something  disparagingly  to  Douglas  respecting  his 
wife's  waistcoat.  It  being  found  that  Murray  was  not  entitled 
to  call  Douglas  a  liar,  he  was  deposed  for  his  offence,  and 
compelled  to  satisfy  by  standing  on  the  stool  of  repentance. 
— P.  R. 

1627,  Jan.  4. — This  day  compeared  Margaret  Dalgliesh,  widow 
in  Peebles,  accused  of  witchcraft  and  charming.  Margaret  denied 
the  charge,  nor  could  any  point  be  proved  against  her,  except 
that  of  uttering  speeches  in  which  she  menaced  some  evil  to  a 
person  with  whom  she  was  at  variance.  So  far  she  confessed, 
and  craved  God's  pardon,  at  the  same  time  declaring  herself  free 
of  witchcraft,  and  that  her  speeches  were  for  harm  upon  them  by 
ordinary  means,  and  not  by  witchcraft.  She  bound  herself  not 
to  do  the  like  again,  and  is  told  that  if  she  does,  she  will  be 
punished. — P.  R. 

On  the  25th  of  January  1627,  the  Privy  Council,  referring  to 
an  act  appointing  Weapon  Shows  in  the  different  counties,  order 
that  the  Weapon  Show  of  the  sheriffdom  of  Peebles  shall  take 
place  on  Friday  the  i$th  of  June  next.  In  obedience  to  this 
command,  a  Weapon  Show,  or,  as  it  used  to  be  called,  a 
Wappen  Shawing,  took  place  accordingly,  under  the  direction  of 


Nasmyth  of  Posso,  who  at  this  time  occupied  the  office  of 
sheriff-depute  ;  the  place  of  meeting  being  the  open  ground  on 
the  south  side  of  the  Tweed,  called  the  King's  Muir.  The 
following  is  an  accurate  account  of  the  meeting,  along  with  a 
list  of  those  who  were  absent  :* 

*  At  that  place  of  the  Borrow  Muir  of  Peebles  called  the  King's  Muir; 
in  presence  of  James  Nasmyth  of  Posso,  Sheriff-depute  of  the  Sheriffdom 
of  Peebles,  the  i5th  day  of  June  1627,  being  the  ordinary  day  and  place 
appointed  for  the  mustering  and  showing  of  weapons  of  the  said  sheriff- 
dom ;  conform  to  an  act  made  by  the  Lords  of  His  Majesty's  Secret 
Council  thereanent,  and  publication  following  thereon  :  Compeared  the 
Barons  and  others  under-wrytt ;  and  gave  in  their  musters,  and  showing 
of  the  weapons,  in  manner  following,  viz. : 

William  Brown  in  Wester  Happrew,  bailie  to  my  Lord  Yester ;  in  his 
lordship's  name,  weil  horsit,  with  jack,  plet  sleeves,  steil  bonnet,  pistol, 
and  sword ;  accompanied  with  threescore  five  horsemen  and  four  futmen, 
all  with  lances  and  swords,  dwelling  on  the  said  noble  Lord  his  lands,  in 
the  parishes  of  Peebles,  Line,  Stobo,  and  Drummelzier. 

James  Cheisholm  in  Glenholm,  for  my  Lord  Earl  of  Wigton ;  weil 
horsit  himself,  accompanied  with  seven  horsemen,  with  lances  and 
swords,  dwelling  on  the  said  noble  Earl  his  lands,  lying  in  the  parish  of 

Sir  Archibald  Murray  of  Darnhall,  weil  horsit,  with  a  collet ;  accom- 
panied with  forty-two  horsemen,  with  lances  and  swords,  ten  jacks  and 
steil  bonnets ;  within  the  parishes  of  Kilbucho  and  Edilston. 

The  Laird  of  Glenkirk,  absent  himself;  four  of  his  men  present, 
horsit,  with  lances  and  swords  ;  within  the  parish  of  Glenholm. 

James  Geddes  of  Rachan,  present  himself,  weil  horsit,  with  jack,  steil 
bonnet,  sword  and  pistol ;  with  five  horsemen,  with  lances  and  swords  ; 
within  the  parish  of  Glenholm. 

Adam  Gillies,  portioner  of  Whitslaid,  present,  weil  horsed,  with  a  lance 
and  sword  ;  in  the  parish  of  Glenholm. 

James  Cockburn,  bailie  for  Sir  Jo.  Hamilton  of  Skirling,  knight, 
present,  for  the  said  Sir  John's  name ;  accompanied  with  horsemen,  all 
with  lances  and  swords,  and  four  jacks  ;  in  the  parishes  of  Skirling  and 

The  Laird  of  Stenhous,  absent  himself;  seven  of  his  men  present, 
horsit  all,  with  lances  and  swords  ;  in  the  parish  of  Broughton. 

1  We  copy  from  an  old  MS.  in  the  Barns  Papers.  The  account  given  by  Armstrong, 
and  reprinted  in  Brown's  edition  of  Pennecuik,  is  extremely  inaccurate,  besides  being 
deficient  in  the  list  of  absentees. 


The  Laird  of  Haldon,  absent  himself;  Jo.  Haldon,  his  bailie,  present 
in  his  name,  accompanied  with  ten  horsemen  and  two  futmen,  all  with 
lances  and  swords  ;  parish  of  Broughton. 

The  Laird  of  Romanno,  present,  weil  horsit,  with  ane  sword,  with 
four  horsemen,  with  lances  and  swords ;  parish  of  Newlands. 

The  Laird  of  Halton,  absent  himself;  nine  of  his  men  present,  with 
lances  and  swords  ;  in  the  parishes  of  Peebles  and  Edilston. 

John  Lawder  of  Foulage,  present,  for  Foulage  and  Melinsland,  weil 
horsit,  with  ane  jack,  plet  sleeves,  and  steil  bonnet,  sword  and  lance ; 
within  the  parish  of  Peebles. 

The  Laird  of  Smithfield,  absent  himself;  seven  of  his  men  present, 
horsit,  with  ane  futman,  all  with  swords  and  lances  ;  parish  of  Peebles. 

Jo.  Horsbrugh,  present,  for  the  lands  of  Hutchinfield,  weil  horsit,  with 
collet,  buff  coat,  steil  bonnet,  with  lance  and  sword  ;  parish  of  Peebles. 

The  Laird  of  Langla-hill,  present,  weil  horsit,  with  jack,  steil  bonnet, 
with  lance  and  sword ;  with  three  horsemen,  with  swords  and  lances ; 
within  the  parish  of  Broughton. 

David  Murray  of  Halmyre,  weil  horsit,  accompanied  with  thirty-nine 
horsemen,  and  ane  buff  coat,  collet ;  all  the  rest  with  lances  and  swords ; 
within  the  parishes  of  Newlands,  Stobo,  and  Drummelzier. 

Jo.  Thomson  in  Bonington,  present,  horsit,  with  lance  and  sword; 
parish  of  Peebles. 

Jo.  Bullo  in  Bonington,  present,  horsit,  with  sword  and  lance ;  parish 
of  Peebles. 

Jo.  Scot  of  Hundilshop,  absent  himself;  six  of  his  men  present,  horsit, 
with  two  futmen,  all  with  lances  and  swords ;  parish  of  Menner. 

James  Scot  of  Cruickston,  absent  himself;  two  of  his  men  present, 
futmen,  with  lances  and  swords  ;  parish  of  Peebles. 

The  Laird  of  Menner,  present ;  weil  horsit,  accompanied  with  seven 
horsemen,  all  with  swords  and  lances  ;  within  the  parish  of  Menner. 

William  Burnet,  elder  of  Barns,  present,  weil  horsit,  with  a  buff  coat 
and  steil  bonnet,  lance  and  sword  ;  accompanied  with  seven  horsemen, 
with  lances  and  swords,  with  ane  futman  with  a  lance  ;  within  the  parish 
of  Menner. 

Robert  Porteous,  for  Winkston,  present,  with  a  buff  coat,  a  pair  of 
pistols,  and  a  rapier. 

The  Laird  of  Dawick,  present,  weil  horsit,  with  ane  sword  ;  accom- 
panied with  ane  horseman,  with  a  sword  and  a  lance ;  parish  of 

Robert  Pringle  of  Chapelhill,  present,  weil  horsit,  with  a  lance,  pistol, 
and  sword  ;  and  a  futman  with  a  lance. 

The  Laird  of  Hartrie,  absent  himself;  ten  of  his  men  present,  horsit, 
with  lances  and  swords  ;  parish  of  Kilbucho. 


William  Brown  of  Logan,  present,  weil  horsit,  with  lance  and  sword ; 
and  ane  horseman  with  nathing ;  parish  of  Glenholm. 

Walter  Scott  of  Glenrath,  absent  himself;  four  of  his  men  present, 
horsit,  with  lances  and  swords,  and  ane  steil  bonnet ;  in  the  parish  of 

Roland  Scott,  for  his  part  of  Deins-houses,  present,  horsit,  with 
jack,  steil  bonnet,  sword,  and  lance ;  parish  of  Newlands. 

,  for  his  part  of  Deins-houses,  present,  horsit;  with 

jack,  steil  bonnet,  sword,  and  lance ;  parish  of  Newlands. 

William  Tweedie,  younger  of  Wrae,  present,  horsit,  with  ane  horse- 
man, baith  with  lance  and  sword ;  parish  of  Glenholm. 

Jo.  Paterson,  portioner  of  Broughton-sheills,  present,  weil  horsit,  with 
lance  and  sword ;  parish  of  Broughton. 

The  Laird  of  Glack,  absent  himself;  three  of  his  men  present,  horsit, 
with  twa  lances  and  swords ;  parish  of  Menner. 

The  Laird  of  Halkshaw,  absent  himself;  four  of  his  men  present,  with 
three  lances  and  swords,  horsit ;  parish  of  Drummelzier. 

The  Laird  of  Posso,  sheriff-depute  foresaid,  with  buff  coat,  steil  bonnet, 
twa  pistols  and  sword,  accompanied  with  fourteen  horsemen,  with  lances 
and  swords. 

The  names  of  the  Barons,  Gentlemen,  and  Freeholders  who  were 
absent  themselves,  with  their  men,  frae  the  said  Wapon-shawing : 

My  Lord  Borthwick,  for  his  hail  lands  in  Tweeddale,  absent. 

James  Stewart  of  Easter  Horsbrugh. 

Roger  Purves,  for  his  part  of  Purveshill. 

James  Tait,  for  his  part  thereof. 

The  Laird  of  Riddel,  for  his  part  thereof. 

Jo.  Bryson,  for  his  part  thereof. 

The  Laird  of  Glen. 

The  Laird  of  Boninton-Scot. 

The  Laird  of  Covington,  for  his  part  of  Bold. 

Sir  John  Murray  of  Philiphaugh,  for  his  part  thereof. 

The  Laird  of  Traquair. 

The  Lord  of  Garlics,  for  the  lands  of  Ormistoun. 

The  Laird  of  Pirn. 

The  Laird  of  Henderston. 

The  Lord  of  Morton,  for  his  hail  lands  in  Tweeddale. 

The  Lord  of  St  John,  for  his  hail  lands  in  Tweeddale. 

The  Laird  of  Cardrona. 

Gilbert  Chisholm,  for  his  part  of  Aikerfield. 

The  Laird  of  Earlshaugh. 


My  Lord  Melros,  for  his  hail  lands  of  Tweeddale. 
The  Lord  of  Halyrudhous,  for  his  lands  of  Slipperfield. 
The  Laird  of  Henderland.' 

The  list  of  lairds  and  their  retainers  on  this  occasion  is  valuable 
as  shewing  who  were  the  principal  land-proprietors,  and  their 
relative  power  and  importance,  as  likewise  the  method  of  arming 
and  attending  county  musters  in  1627.  Other  considerations  are 
suggested.  Neither  at  this  nor  at  a  later  period  do  we  hear  of 
tenant-farmers,  except  as  servants  at  the  command  of  their 
masters.  All  had  to  turn  out  armed  when  ordered  to  do  so,  and 
compelled,  as  soldiers  on  horse  or  foot,  to  take  part  in  military 
movements,  which,  doubtless,  in  some  instances  they  secretly 
disliked.  For  this  abject  condition  there  was,  however,  no  help. 
Lands  were  let  only  on  the  tenure  of  rendering  military  service 
in  the  cause  espoused  by  the  proprietors,  and  any  shortcoming 
in  this  respect  would  have  been  visited  with  penalties  which  the 
local  heritable  jurisdictions  would  not  have  been  slack  in 
imposing.  Constantly  subject  to  these  unpleasant  demands,  the 
tenantry  likewise  suffered  from  such  fines  as  happened  to  be  laid 
on  their  landlords  for  acts  not  agreeable  to  the  higher  authorities ; 
and  the  picture  of  their  condition  receives  an  additional  shade 
from  their  poor  style  of  living  and  means  of  subsistence.  The 
sole  exhilaration  in  the  lot  of  the  middle  and  lower  classes  in 
either  town  or  country,  was  derived  from  a  constant  succession 
of  public  religious  exercises,  on  which  all  were  not  only  allowed 
but  invited  to  pronounce  a  deliberate  opinion.  From  numerous 
entries  in  the  books  of  the  Presbytery  of  Peebles,  we  learn  that 
that  venerable  body  took  especial  care  to  encourage  the  practice 
of  criticising  the  sermons,  life,  and  doctrine  of  ministers,  such  a 
usage  being  highly  flattering  to  popular  judgment,  and  calculated 
to  establish  a  universal  censorship  of  manners. 

1627,  Feb.  15. — The  Presbytery  visited  the  parish  kirk  of  Peebles,  in 
which  the  inhabitants  were  convened,  in  order  to  inquire  whether  they 
were  satisfied  with  the  doctrine  and  ministrations  of  the  parson.  All 
declared  they  were  well  satisfied,  and  praised  God  for  so  good  a 
minister ;  but  they  were  not  pleased  with  Hector  Cranston,  the  vicar, 
whose  duty  consisted  in  reading  a  portion  of  the  Scriptures  daily, 


morning  and  evening.  Cranston,  who  was  old  and  infirm,  was  requested 
to  resign. — P.  R. 

Same  date. — The  minister  of  Glenholm  complained  of  the  wrong, 
abuse,  and  contempt  done  to  the  kirk  of  Glenholm,  being  the  house  of 
God,  by  Robert  Crichton  and  others,  in  making  ane  tulzie  in  the  said 
kirk  after  sermon,  the  congregation  not  being  dismissed,  by  striking  of 
ane  gentleman  with  ane  rung,  whilk  the  said  Robert  had  kept  under  his 
cloak,  and  thereafter  be  drawing  of  his  sword.  Crichton  was  ordered  to 
be  deprived  of  his  office  as  elder,  and  all  the  parties  were  to  be  brought 
before  the  Privy  Council. — P.  R. 

1628,  Feb. — Thomas  Brunton  accused  of  abusing  the  minister  of 
Traquair,  minting  at  [threatening  to  draw]  his  whinger,  and  saying  what 
he  should  get  for  not  allowing  his  father  to  be  buried  in  the  kirkyard. 
James  Little,  Willinslee,  and  William  Temple,  accused  of  having  an 
enchanted  stone  for  their  cattle. — P.  R. 

Sept — The  minister  of  Kilbucho,  at  the  visitation  to  that  kirk, 
complained  of  John  Thriepland  muttering  and  whispering  to  the  congre- 
gation in  time  of  sermon,  and  speaking  back  to  the  minister  when  he 
commanded  silence ;  also,  of  his  following  the  minister  to  the  place  of 
Hartree  same  afternoon,  with  sword  and  whinger,  and  wanting  the 
minister  to  fight.  Thriepland  is  found  guilty,  and  ordered  to  satisfy  in 
the  usual  manner. — P.  It. 

1628,  July  15. — Complaint  made  by  Patrick  Bullo,  metster  [measurer] 
and  burgess  of  Peebles  ;  Mr  John  Bennet,  minister  at  Kirkurd  ;  Mr 
John  Hay,  persoun  of  Stobo  ;  and  Mr  John  Hamilton,  minister  at 
Linton,  to  the  effect  that  Bullo  had  been  employed,  by  an  order  from 
the  Archbishop  of  Glasgow,  to  measure  '  some  aikers  of  land '  at  Linton, 
for  a  glebe  to  the  minister  ;  and  that,  while  so  occupied,  John  Tweedie 
in  Linton,  and  a  number  of  accomplices,  threatened  '  to  take  his  lyffe  if 
he  desisted  not ;'  Tweedie  also  '  strake  him  in  sundrie  pairts  of  his  bodie, 
tooke  him  by  the  shoulder,  and  violentlie  flang  him  over  ane  high  and 
stey  brae,  whairthrow  he  has  so  bruised  him  that  he  is  not  able  to 
exercie  his  lawfull  and  ordinarie  service ;  and  thairafter,  in  ane  imperious 
and  boisterous  maner,  commanded  the  complenairs  to  goe  away,  for 
they  sould  not  gett  leave  to  mett  anie  land  thair.'  Defender  assoilzied, 
for  want  of  proof. — P.  C.  R. 

1628,  July  29. — David  Murray  of  Halmyre  and  others  complain  that 
they  have  been  charged  '  to  find  caution  for  the  indempnitie '  of  Hunter 
of  Polmood  and  others,  their  wives,  bairns,  tenants,  and  servants ;  the 
said  caution  being  excessive,  and  beyond  what  the  law  allows.  Penalty 
for  Murray  modified  from  ^1000  to  ^500,  and  for  the  other  com- 
plainers  from  ^500  to  ;£ioo.  [This  was  seemingly  a  case  of  obligation 
to  keep  the  peace.] — P.  C.  R. 


We  now  arrive  at  the  finale  of  the  Tweedies,  who,  according  to 
an  old-established  method  of  ruination  in  other  quarters  besides 
Peeblesshire,  had  been  living  beyond  their  means,  and  at  length, 
through  debts  and  mortgages,  were  obliged  to  relinquish  their 
possessions.  With  an  inheritance  shorn  of  its  splendour,  James 
Tweedie,  the  last  of  his  name  in  Drummelzier,  is  in  1628  found 
a  broken-down  man  in  the  tolbooth  of  Edinburgh,  to  which  he 
had  been  consigned  by  his  cousin  and  remorseless  creditor, 
John  Lord  Hay  of  Yester,  into  whose  family  the  lands  of 
Drummelzier  had  now  passed.  We  shall  allow  the  last  of  a  race 
that  had  tormented  the  county  for  centuries,  to  tell  his  own 
sorrowful  tale. 

1628,  Aug.  7. — James  Tuedie  of  Drummelzier  complains  to 
the  Lords  of  the  Privy  Council  '  that  he  has  beene  deteaned  in 
ward  within  the  tolbuith  of  Edinburgh  five  yeares  and  foure 
months  bygane,  at  the  instance  of  John  Lord  Hay  of  Yester, 
his  cousine-germane,  both  in  his  own  name  and  under  colour 
and  pretext  of  other  men's  names.  Lykeas,  he  has  not  onlie 
unnaturallie  deteaned  the  said  compleaner  in  wofull  captivitie, 
but  apprysed  his  lands  and  heretage  with  the  legal  reversioun  of 
the  same,  and  intromettit  with  the  whole  rents  thairof,  whilk  will 
far  surmount  onie  burden  or  debt  he  can  lay  to  the  compleaner's 
charge ;  and  yet  to  kythe  his  causeless  inimitie,  he  has  not  onlie 
stopped  the  decreit  of  libertie  readie  to  have  beene  pronounced 
be  the  Lords  of  Sessioun,  mynding  thairby  to  appropriat  unto 
himselffe  be  forged  pleyes  [pleas]  his  haill  estait  and  rents,  but 
also  to  deteane  the  compleaner's  persoun  in  waird  till  his  dying 
day ;  whairas  he  haveing  all  that  belongs  unto  the  compleaner, 
he  has  nothing  to  susteane  himselffe,  but  is  lyke  to  starve  unlesse 
the  goodman  of  the  tolbuith  supplied  his  necessair  wants.'  It 
being  decerned  that  Lord  Yester  shall  either  release  Drummelzier, 
or  allow  him  a  weekly  maintenance,  to  be  fixed  by  the  Lords, 
he  consents  to  his  release. — P.  C.  R.  [Exit  Tweedie.] 

About  this  time,  the  Presbytery  of  Peebles  seems  to  have  been 
much  engaged  in  the  examination  of  witches,  but  no  details  are 
given.  The  Privy  Council  is  similarly  occupied. 


Sept.  27. — Alexander  Veitch  in  Horsburgh  receives  warrant  to  search 
for  and  apprehend  Katherine  Young,  spouse  to  Alexander  Peacoke, 
suspect  and  delate  guiltie  of  the  crime  of  witchcraft,  and  to  take  evidence 
to  that  effect  to  be  laid  before  the  Council. — P.  C.  JR. 

1629,  April. — Certain  parties  who  had  attacked  the  minister  of 
Dawick  with  rungs  and  -batons,  having  confessed  their  crime,  were 
ordered  to  stand  on  the  mercat-cross  of  Peebles,  on  Tyesday  neist,  being 
the  mercat-day,  with  papers  on  their  breasts  setting  forth  their  crime ; 
besides  this,  they  were  ordained  to  stand  in  sackcloth  at  the  kirk-doors 
of  Peebles,  Kirkurd,  Drummelzier,  and  Stobo. — P.  R. 

The  inhabitants  of  Peebles  complain  to  the  Presbytery  as  to 
the  want  of  week-day  sermon.  The  matter  being  referred  to  the 
parson,  he  agrees  to  accede  to  the  wishes  of  his  flock  by  giving 
them  a  sermon  daily ;  and  as  the  kirk  is  inconveniently  situated, 
being  outside  the  town,  the  chapel  [formerly  the  chapel  of  Our 
Lady,  west  end  of  High  Street]  is  ordered  to  be  repaired  and 
made  suitable  for  the  meetings  being  held  there.  The  old  pulpit 
to  be  removed  from  the  kirk  to  the  chapel,  and  a  new  one  to  be 
put  in  its  place. — P.  R. 

1629. — Complaint  against  John  Dunlop,  school-doctor  in  Peebles,  for 
making  ane  riot  in  the  kirk  on  5th  July  last,  and  encroaching  on  the 
reader's  function  and  place  without  lawful  calling  thereto,  and  making  a 
great  uproar.  He  was  ordered  to  be  cited.  [This  man  appears  to  have 
been  appointed  assistant-reader  by  Mr  Hector  Cranston,  an  arrangement 
not  allowed  by  the  Presbytery.] — P.  R. 

Mr  Andrew  Watson  admitted  vicar  of  Peebles  in  the  Cross  Kirk,  in 
presence  of  a  great  number  of  the  parishioners.  He  was  instituted  in 
the  usual  form,  the  Holy  Bible  being  given  to  him,  and  he  enjoined  to 
be  faithful  in  his  function.  John  Dunlop  was  prohibited  from  exercising 
the  office  of  reader,  and  ordered  to  satisfy  for  his  riot. — P.  R. 

July  21. — The  king  appoints  William,  Earl  of  Menteith,  President  of 
the  Council,  Mr  Thomas  Henderson  of  Charteris,  and  Sir  John  Scott  of 
Scottstarvit,  two  of  the  senators  of  the  College  of  Justice,  to  hold  a 
court  at  Peebles  for  the  sheriffdom,  on  Tuesday,  27th  of  October,  with 
continuation  of  days. — P.  C.  R. 

1631,  June  3. — A  case  is  this  day  brought  before  the  Justiciary  Court 
at  Edinburgh,  at  the  instance  of  Alexander  Muir  and  David  Plenderleith, 
bailies,  and  Thomas  Tweedie,  treasurer  of  the  burgh  of  Peebles,  with 
concurrence  of  His  Majesty's  Advocate.  The  following  notes  of  the 
case  are  given  in  the  Books  of  Adjournal  :  '  John  Ker  in  Edderstoune  is 


indicted  for  the  slaughter  of  John  Chalmer,  common  town-herd  of 
Peebles. — Alleged  for  the  pannel,  that  the  dittay  is  not  relevant  against 
him,  because  it  bears  that  the  pannel's  brother  gave  him  a  stroak  with  a 
kent  [stout  walking-stick],  of  which  the  defunct  is  said  to  have  dyed,  so 
that  it  does  not  bear  that  the  pannel  did  either  invade  or  strike  the 
defunct.  Answer :  The  dittay  bears  that  the  pannel  as  a  cause  of  the 
quarrel  beat  the  defunct's  son,  and  assisted  his  brother  in  pursuing 
the  defunct  with  a  kent  in  his  hand,  the  pannel  and  his  brother  having 
lain  darnal  and  in  secret  for  his  slaughter,  as  is  lybelled.  The  justice 
finds  the  dittay  relevant,  and  repels  the  allegations,  and  remits.' 

We  do  not  see  what  was  the  ultimate  decision  on  the  case. 
For  several  days  in  succession,  it  is  adjourned  for  trial,  the  last 
notice  taken  of  it  being,  that '  it  is  remitted  to  this  day  aucht  days.' 
At  this  period,  as  already  stated,  the  court  was  much  overtasked 
in  trying  persons  accused  of  witchcraft ;  the  case  immediately 
preceding  that  of  Ker  is  one  in  which  a  man  is  found  guilty  of 
being  *  a  warlock,'  and  adjudged  to  '  be  worryit  [strangled],  and 
then  burnt.' 

1631,  Dec.   13. — Anent  letters  raised  at  the  instance  of  Archibald 
Johnestoun,  servitour  to  Wilknie  Johnestoune  of  Halmyre,  merchant 

burges  of  Edinburgh,  makand  mention,  That  whereupon  the day  of 

November  last,  the  said  Archibald  being  in  the  dwelling-house  of , 

in  Lyntoun,   doing   his  lawfull   affaires,   Patrick   Murray,  indweller  in 
Edinburgh,  without  any  offence  done  to  him,  drew  ane  long  whinger, 
and  gave  him  ane  deepe  and  deidlie  straike  therewith  in  the  wambe,  to 
the  great  effusion  of  his  blood  and  perill  of  his  lyfe.     The  defender  not 
appearing  to  answer  the  charge,  is   denounced   rebel,  and  put  to  the 
horn.— P.  C.  R. 

1632,  May. — John  Pringle  in  Peebles  accused  of  burning  the  New 
Testament  at  the  waking  of  a  corpse. — P.  JR. 

Three  notable  families  in  the  county  received  an  accession  of 
dignity  and  importance  in  the  reign  of  Charles  I.  Sir  John 
Stewart  of  Traquair,  after  being  raised  to  the  peerage  as  Lord 
Stewart  of  Traquair  in  1628,  became  Lord  High  Treasurer  of 
Scotland,  and  in  1633,  was  created  Earl  of  Traquair,  Lord 
Linton,  and  Caberston.  A  few  years  later,  Sir  Gideon  Murray, 
third  son  of  Andrew  Murray  of  Blackbarony,  acquiring  the 
property  of  Elibank  in  Selkirkshire,  his  son  Patrick,  who  had 


been  an  eminent  lawyer  and  statesman  in  the  reign  of  James  VI., 
was  advanced  to  the  peerage  by  the  title  of  Lord  Elibank  in 
1643 — in  which  Elibank  branch,  the  Murrays  of  Blackbarony 
ultimately  merged.  The  third  family  of  honourable  lineage 
which  rose  in  dignity  was  that  of  the  Hays,  Lords  Yester.  John, 
the  eighth  lord,  was  created  Earl  of  Tweeddale  in  1646 — dying 
in  1654,  he  was  succeeded  by  his  son  John,  who,  as  second  earl, 
figured  as  an  advocate  of  moderate  measures  through  the  most 

Fig.  25. — Neidpath  Castle,  eastern  aspect 

troublous  period  of  Scottish  history,  was  signalised  as  an  improver, 
and  in  acknowledgment  of  his  valuable  services,  was  created 
Marquis  of  Tweeddale  in  1694.  As  repeatedly  mentioned,  the 
Hays  of  Yester  inhabited  the  castle  of  Neidpath,  which  had  been 
enlarged  and  rendered  a  fitting  baronial  residence  in  the  early 
part  of  the  fifteenth  century.  At  the  accession  of  John,  the  eighth 
lord,  to  the  earldom,  this  ancient  fortalice  had  the  imposing 
appearance  which  it  retains  in  its  present  partially  decayed 
condition,  as  represented  in  the  annexed  cut. 

Turning  from  the  county  to  the  burgh,  we  find  that,  at  this 


period,  tenacious  of  its  rights  of  common,  so  valuable  for  the 
pasturing  of  cattle  and  the  digging  of  peat  for  fuel,  it  became 
involved  in  a  lengthened  dispute  with  Scot  of  Hundleshope 
respecting  a  portion  of  land  connected  with  Caidmuir.  In  the 
present  day,  a  difference  of  this  nature  would  be  adjusted  by  a 
litigation  before  a  competent  court,  but  in  the  seventeenth 
century,  neither  bailies  nor  burgesses  had  sufficient  temper  and 
patience  for  so  placid  a  procedure,  and  went  straight  to  their 
purpose  by  force  of  arms  and  numbers.  The  incidents  con- 
nected with  the  contest  throw  so  much  light  on  the  irregular 
manners  of  the  time,  that  we  give  them  entire  as  they  are 
reported  in  the  books  of  the  Privy  Council. 

1635,  July  14. — John  Scot  of  Hundleshope,  and  John  and 
James  Dickson,  his  servants,  state  that,  although  the  bearing  of 
hacquebuts  and  pistolets,  and  the  convocation  of  the  lieges  in 
arms,  be  prohibited  by  law,  'on  the  i8th  of  June  last  the  provost 
and  bailies  of  Peebles,  along  with  others  their  accomplices,  to  the 
number  of  fourscore  persons,  armed  with  swords,  staves,  and  other 
weapons,  and  hacquebuts  and  pistolets,  came  to  that  part  of  the 
lands  of  Halyeards  and  Mylntoune  thairof  callit  the  Coupe  Dyke, 
quhilk  is  ane  proper  part  of  the  baronie  of  Hundilshop,  per- 
taining heratablie  to  the  said  John  Scot,  and  there  they  biggit 
ane  house  of  30  foote  of  lenthe,  and  howbeat  the  compleaner  did 
legallie  and  civillie  interrupt  thame,  yet  they  remained  upon  the 
lands  three  dayes  and  nights,  and  upon  the  thrid  day  of  July 
instant,  Thomas  Patersone  and  David  Plenderleith,  baillies  of 
Peebles,  John  Geddes,  officer  there,  with  others  in  maner  fore- 
said,  came  to  that  part  of  the  compleaners  lands  of  Mylntoune 
called  the  Bordlandmure,  where  the  said  John  and  James 
Dicksone  were  casting  divetts,  drew  their  swords,  and  wounded 
James  Dicksone  in  the  hand  to  the  effusion  of  his  blood,  and 
gave  him  divers  straiks  on  other  parts  of  his  bodie.' — P.  C.  R. 

Such  was  Scot's  case,  and  it  is  a  sufficiently  strange  one — a 
clamorous  and  armed  mob  of  fourscore  persons,  headed  by  the 
magistrates  of  Peebles,  coming  a  distance  of  several  miles  to 
maintain  some  claim  of  property,  building  a  small  house, 


remaining  on  the  spot  three  days,  and  finally  assaulting  Scot's 
servants  to  the  effusion  of  their  blood.  Scot,  however,  failed  to 
prove  his  charge  of  illegally  carrying  hagbuts  and  pistols,  such 
being  denied  on  oath  by  Williamson,  the  provost ;  and  the 
mere  tumult  does  not  appear  to  have  been  visited  with  punish- 
ment. The  judge  ordinary  is  to  settle  the  matter  in  dispute, 
each  party  giving  caution  to  keep  the  peace,  '  the  burgh  of 
Peebles  under  the  paine  of  thrie  thousand  merks,  and  John  Scot 
and  Mr  William  Burnet,  son  to  John  Burnet  of  Barns,  either 
of  thame  ane  thousand  merks.'  But  the  case  did  not  end  here. 
Immediately  following,  the  burgh  of  Peebles  brings  forward  a 
charge  of  rioting  and  assault  per  contra. 

The  provost  sets  forth,  '  that  the  burgh  being  heratablie  infeft 
in  the  lands  of  Caidmuir,  and  in  peaceable  possession  thairof, 
and  having  latelie  biggit  ane  house  of  stane,  nane  having  made 
interruption  to  them,  yet  it  is  of  truth  that  upon  the  2 1  day  of 
June  last,  John  Scot  of  Hundleshop  assembled  together  the 
persons  underwritten — William  Scot  his  brother  naturall, 
William  Scot  his  uncle,  Mr  William  Burnet,  sone  to  Barns,  John 
Burnet,  also  his  sone,  John,  Robert,  Thomas,  and  James  Dickson 
in  Mylntoune,  James  Anderson  there,  Walter  Yong  there, 
James  Notman,  smith,  Robert  Ireland,  James  Burnet,  son  to 
Woodhouse,  James  Burnet  in  Boghouse,  Andro  Hunter  in 
Manner,  James  Lawson,  Malcolm  Phillip,  tailzdour,  James 
Mattheson,  John  Watson,  John  Lowis,  William  Russell,  and 
William  Rankane,  myller,  with  others,  with  jacks,  steil  bonnets, 
speares,  lances,  Jedwort  staves,  forks,  swords,  whingers,  axes, 
picks,  mattocks,  gavelocks,  and  with  hacquebuts  and  pistolets 
prohibit  to  be  worne,  came  under  cloud  of  night  to  the  said 
hous,  and  there,  with  speares  and  lances,  ran  John  Robin  and 
Charles  Cleg,  the  compleaners  servants,  to  the  ground  with  monie 
blae  and  blood  ie  straiks,  and  had  not  failed  to  take  their  lyves 
were  it  not  by  the  helpe  of  some  neichbours  they  were  rescued  ; 
and  immediately  thairafter  clam  to  the  heid  of  the  hous,  tirled 
[unroofed]  and  kust  doune  the  same  to  the  ground  with  their 
picks  and  mattocks,  and  cuttit  and  destroyed  the  haill  timber 


with  the  doores  and  windowis,  and  left  not  sa  much  as  ane  stane 
standing,  nor  yet  ane  piece  of  timber  of  thrie  foot  length.'  The 
parties  concerned  being  present,  the  Lords  decern  as  in  the 
preceding  case,  assoilzing  the  defenders  on  their  oath  by  consent 
of  complainers  ;  each  party  to  find  security  to  the  other,  namely, 
the  burgh  of  Peebles  under  a  penalty  of  three  thousand  merks, 
and  John  Scot  and  Mr  William  Burnet  each  a  thousand  merks. 
—P.  C.  R. 

1636,  June  7. — James  Law,  one  of  the  keepers  of  His  Majesty's  signet, 
and  heritable  proprietor  of  the  Temple-land  of  Kirkurd,  complains  that 
whereas  he  has  been  in  peaceable  possession  'until  latelie,  when  Thomas 
Murray,  his  tenant,  having  entered  on  the  building  of  ane  hous  in  April 
last,  Thomas  Veitche  in  Lockhurd  came  to  the  compleaners  saids  lands, 
threatened  the  said  tenant  and  Robert  Broune,  workman,  who  was 
bigging  the  hous,  forced  him  to  leive  his  worke,  thairafter  violentlie 
pulled  doune  the  thacke  and  a  great  part  of  the  timber  and  walls  of  the 
said  hous ;'  and  came  afterwards  and  demolished  the  house  utterly,  so 
that  '  the  poore  tenente  will  be  forced  to  ly  in  the  fields.'  The  persons 
concerned  being  present,  the  Lords  remit  the  matter  '  anent  the  right 
of  ground  quhairupon  the  said  house  was  built,  to  be  pursewed  before 
the  judge  ordinarie,  and  in  the  meantyme  desired  the  parties  to 
nominal  eache  some  sufficient  man '  to  decide  as  to  where  the  house 
may  be  built.  Accordingly,  the  parties  nominated  Robert  Tweedie  in 
Bordland,  and  James  Geddes  of  Rachan,  to  whom  the  Lords  gave  the 
requisite  powers. — P.  C.  R. 

In  the  list  of  commissioners  from  the  shires  who  had  signed 
the  Confession  of  Faith  and.  Covenant  of  1638,  appears  for 
'  Peebles — James  Williamson,  Provost,'  the  same  who  gallantly 
led  the  crusade  against  Hundleshope  three  years  previously. 

In  1640,  the  Presbytery  of  Peebles  had  several  cases  of  witch- 
craft under  consideration.  On  one  occasion,  the  members  met 
at  the  kirk  of  Glenholm,  for  the  purpose  of  trying  witches  ; 
Gilbert  Robisone,  Isabel  Cuthbertson,  Lillias  Bertram,  and  Malie 
Macwatt,  from  the  parish  of  Culter,  were  brought  forward. 
Among  other  things  asked,  it  was  inquired  if  they  had  ever 
had  any  acquaintance  with  one  Graham,  a  witch  who  had 
been  burned  at  Peebles.  The  main  charge  against  them  seems 
to  have  been,  telling  people  to  take  their  children  to  a 


south-running  stream  to  be  cured  when  they  were  ill.  Gilbert 
Robisone  was  believed  to  be  a  noted  warlock,  and  there  are 
frequent  references  to  him.  In  April  1641,  he  is  spoken  of  as 
being  in  ward,  '  suspect  of  witchcraft ;'  and  the  ministers  of 
Broughton,  Glenholm,  and  Drummelzier  are  appointed  to  see 
what  is  laid  to  his  charge,  and  to  intimate  their  intention  of 
doing  so  from  their  pulpits. — P.  R. 

1642,  Feb.  3. — '  Mr  Andrew  Watson,  vicar  of  Peebles,'  complains  to 
the  Privy  Council  that,  on  a  certain  day  of  May  last,  James  William- 
sone,  younger,  in  Peebles,  who  had  often  vowed  to  'tirle  the  said 
minister's  hous  above  his  head,  came  airlie  in  the  morning  before  day- 
light to  his  said  dwelling-hous,  clam  up  to  the  top  thereof,  and  with  a 
graip  kuist  down  a  great  part  of  the  thack  and  divetts  of  the  said  hous  ; 

and  upon  the  day  of  Junii  thairafter,  he,  understanding  that  the 

complainer  was  at  St  Andrews,  came,  with  John  Mure  in  Peebles,  to  the 
said  hous  and  chamber,  so  that  when  the  complainer  returned,  all  the 
utensiles  and  plenishing  of  his  hous  were  spoyled  with  rayne,  and  the 
hous  made  uninhabitable ;  and  afterwards,  in  October,  they  came  under 
cloud  and  silence  of  night,  entered  the  hous  by  a  back-door,  and  having 
ascended  the  stair,  rave  up  the  daills  of  the  floor,  so  that,  but  for  the 
providence  of  God,  the  complainer  had  fallen  doun  betwix  the  head  of 
the  tumpyck  and  his  chamber  doore,  and  been  killed,  which  was  thair 
intention.'  Watson  not  having  brought  any  proof  of  his  charge,  the  case 
is  referred  to  '  the  oath  of  veritie '  of  Williamsone,  who  denies  the  whole 
affair.  He  is  therefore  acquitted  along  with  Mure,  who  was  but  a  minor; 
and  as  they  had  been  kept  waiting  in  Edinburgh  for  five  days,  Watson 
is  ordered  to  pay  to  each  of  them  ten  merks. — P.  C.  ft. 

In  1645,  Scotland  was  visited  by  the  plague,  which,  reaching 
Peeblesshire,  caused  much  consternation,  as  is  noticed  from  the 
kirk-session  records — such  as  'no  meeting  of  the  congregation  for 
fear  of  the  pestilence.'  While  alarmed  by  the  spread  of  this 
mysterious  disorder,  the  country  fell  into  a  paroxysm  of  appre- 
hension on  account  of  the  victories  gained  in  the  royal  cause  by 
James  Graham,  Marquis  of  Montrose.  In  speaking  of  the  people 
of  Peeblesshire,  Dr  Pennecuik  says :  '  They  are  of  so  loyal  and 
peaceable  dispositions,  that  they  have  seldom  or  never  appeared 
in  arms  against  their  lawful  sovereign,  nor  were  there  amongst 

that    great    number    twelve    persons   from   Tweeddale    at   the 



insurrection  of  Rullion  Green  or  Bothwell  Bridge.  Of  their 
loyalty  they  gave  sufficient  testimony  at  the  fight  of  Philip- 
haugh,  where  several  of  them  were  killed  by  David  Leslie's 
army,  and  others,  the  most  eminent  of  their  gentry,  taken 
prisoners.'  This  eulogium  is  scarcely  borne  out  by  facts ;  to 
judge  from  the  kirk-session  records  in  the  county,  the  cause 
for  which  Montrose  was  in  arms  was  anything  but  popular.  The 
explanation  of  the  apparent  discrepancy  is,  that  while  the  lairds 
generally,  with  the  militia,  over  whom  they  exercised  control, 
adhered  to  royalty,  the  clergy  and  common  people  were  on  the 
side  of  the  Covenant. 

Routed  at  Philiphaugh,  September  13,  1645,  the  Marquis  of 
Montrose  fled  on  horseback  across  the  high  hill,  Minchmoor,  to 
Traquair,  and  so  on  to  Peebles,  whence  he  proceeded  to  rally  fresh 
forces  in  the  north.  The  conduct  of  the  Earl  of  Traquair  on  this 
occasion  has  been  justly  matter  of  remark.  He  is  alleged  to 
have  sent  his  son,  Lord  Linton,  with  a  troop  of  horse,  to  join 
Montrose  the  day  before  the  battle,  but  withdrew  them  during 
the  night  ;  and  also,  that  when  Montrose  in  his  flight,  accom- 
panied by  a  few  followers,  arrived  at  Traquair  House,  and 
sent  a  friend  to  acquaint  the  earl  and  his  son  with  his  presence, 
both  denied  themselves — a  fact  singularly  illustrative  of  weak- 
ness of  character.  At  least  two  of  the  Tweeddale  gentry,  in 
obedience  to  the  kirk,  performed  penance  for  their  royalist 

1646. — George  Tait  of  Pirn,  and  others,  publicly  satisfied  on 
the  stool  of  repentance  for  complying  with  the  rebellion. — 
K.  S.  R.,  Innerleithen.  Dec.  27. — The  Laird  of  Hawkshaw  did 
make  his  satisfaction  for  complying  with  James  Graham. — 
K.  S.  R.,  Tweedsmuir.  On  the  final  discomfiture  of  Montrose, 
every  parish  in  the  county  seems  to  have  expressed  its  thank- 
fulness. 1650,  May  12. — Thanksgiving  for  the  victory  gained  by 
God's  blessing  over  that  excommunicated  traitor,  James  Graham. 
— K.  S.  R.,  Tweedsmuir.  In  the  records  of  Drummelzier,  Inner- 
leithen, and  other  parishes,  there  are  similar  intimations. 

No  sooner  was  the  country  free  from  the  terror  of  Montrose, 


than  it  fell  into  greater  trouble  on  account  of  the  invasion  of 
Cromwell,  and  his  victory  over  the  ultra-Presbyterian  forces 
at  Dunbar,  September  3,  1650.  Two  years  before,  under  the 
injunctions  of  an  act  of  parliament,  '  for  putting  the  kingdom  in 
ane  posture  of  defence,'  a  committee  of  war  was  named  for 
Peeblesshire,  embracing  the  whole  gentry  in  the  county  ;  but  all 
efforts  of  this  kind  were  unavailing.  Lord  Yester,  son  of  the 
Earl  of  Tweeddale,  fortified  Neidpath  Castle  against  a  party  of 
Cromwell's  troops  sent  to  capture  it,  and  who,  during  their  stay 
in  Peebles,  are  said  to  have  stabled  their  horses  in  the  church 
of  St  Andrew.  The  forces  of  Lord  Yester  are  understood  to 
have  held  out  with  an  extraordinary  degree  of  energy  and 
courage  against  their  besiegers ;  and  but  for  the  comparative 
weakness  of  the  old  peel — assailable  with  cannon  from  the 
southern  side  of  the  river — the  castle  might  not  perhaps  have 
been  rendered  up  so  soon  as  it  was.  The  name  of  the  com- 
mander deputed  by  Cromwell  to  attack  Neidpath  is  not 
mentioned  in  any  contemporary  letter  or  chronicle  ;  but  we  may 
presume  with  tolerable  confidence  that  the  capture  was  effected 
by  Major-general  Lambert,  in  the  latter  part  of  December  1650, 
as  we  learn  that  Cromwell  at  that  time  ordered  him,  with  his 
party,  consisting  of  3000  horse,  to  march  from  Peebles  to 
Lanarkshire,  in  order  to  meet  the  Independent  west-country 
army  of  5000  men  under  Colonel  Ker,  whom  Lambert,  on  the 
1st  of  December,  overthrew  with  great  slaughter.  There  must, 
however,  have  been  a  party  of  English  troops  at  Peebles  after 
this  date,  as  Cromwell,  on  the  2$th  December,  addresses  a  letter 
to  '  Colonel  Francis  Hacker,'  of  which  we  present  a  copy.1 

'  For  Col.  FRANCIS  HACKER,  att  Pebles  or  else  where,  Thiese — 

SIR — I  have  the  best  consideration  I  can  for  the  praesent  in  this 
businesse,  and  although  I  believe  Capt.  Hubbert  is  a  worthy  man,  and 
heere  soe  much,  yett  as  the  case  stands,  I  cannott,  with  satisfaction  to 
my  selffe  and  some  others,  revoake  the  commission  I  had  given  to  Capt 

1  From  Ellis's  Original  Letters  Illustrative  of  English  History,  second  series,  voL  lii. 
p.  365  (MS.  Lansd.,  Brit.  Mus.  1236,  art.  99,  Grig.). 


Empson,  without  offence  to  them,  and  reflection  upon  my  owne  judge- 
ment. I  pray  lett  Capt.  Hubbert  knowe  I  shall  not  bee  unmindefull  of 
him,  and  that  noe  disrespect  is  intended  to  him.  But,  indeed,  I  was  not 
satisfied  with  your  last  speech  to  mee  about  Empson,  that  he  was  a  better 
prsecher  than  a  fighter  or  souldier,  or  words  to  that  effect.  Truly  I 
thinke  Hee  that  prayes  and  prseches  best  will  fight  best.  I  know  nothing 
will  give  like  courage  and  confidence  as  the  knowledge  of  God  in  Christ 
will,  and  I  blesse  God  to  see  any  in  this  Armye  able  and  willinge  to 
impart  the  knowledge  they  have  for  the  good  of  others.  And  I  expect 
itt  bee  encouraged  by  all  Chiefe  Officers  in  this  Armye  especially :  and  I 
hope  you  will  doe  soe.  I  pray  receave  Capt.  Empson  lovinglye.  I  dare 
assure  you  hee  is  a  good  man  and  a  good  officer.  I  would  wee  had  noe 
worse.  I  rest  your  lovinge  friend, 

Dec.  25,  1650.' 

Capturing  Neidpath,  and  taking  possession  of  the  ancient 
castle  of  Peebles,  there  was  no  other  military  operation  to  be 
effected  in  the  county,  for  the  gentry  generally  submitted,  and 
apart  from  them  as  leaders,  the  people  could  have  made  no 
effective  stand.  That  the  Usurpation  was  not  at  the  outset 
unaccompanied  with  some  turmoil  and  panic,  is  seen  from 
several  kirk-session  records. 

1650,  Nov.  IO. — Because  of  the  English  putting  garrisons  in 
the   country,  there  was  no   meeting  in  the   kirk  till  the  2Qth 
December,  all  which  time  the  minister  was  in  a  fleeing  condition. 
1651,  Feb. — No  session  at  this  time,  because  the  enemy  were 
going  up  and  down.     Aug.  3. — No  sermon  because  the  Scots 
army  marching  up  Tweed  had  driven  away  most  part  of  the 
sheep  and  the  cattle,  and  the  people  were  busied  in  following 
their  goods,  in  giving  meat  to  the  soldiers,  and  in  keeping  their 
houses  from  strangers. — K,  S.  R.,  Drummelzier. 

1651,  March  23. — No  meeting  this  day  for  fear  of  the  enemy. 
3<Dth. — The  collection  this  day  to  be  given  to  a  man  for  acting 
as  a  watch  during  the  time  of  sermon.     Aug.  3. — No  meeting, 
because  of  the  marching  of  the  enemy  through  the  parochine. — 
K.  S.  R.,  Tweedsmuir.     The  kirk-session  of  the  parish  of  Inner- 
leithen  becoming  uneasy  for  the  safety  of  some  cash  on  hand, 
resorted  to  the  ingenious  device  of  lending  it  on  bond  until  more 


peaceful  times.     The  borrower  was  Alexander  Hay,  parson  of 
Peebles,  son  and  successor  of  Dr  Theodore  Hay. 

Except  that  the  Presbyterians  were  not  allowed  to  hold 
General  Assemblies  or  to  interfere  in  politics,  they  suffered  no 
interruption  in  their  church-polity  during  the  Protectorate. 
Kirk-sessions  continued  their  administration  as  usual,  and  we 
discover  no  other  difference  in  their  proceedings  after  the 
establishment  of  the  Commonwealth,  than  that  religious  zeal 
was  more  intensified,  and  exercised  with  less  scruple.  That  the 
church-discipline  now  carried  to  excess  failed  in  its  object, 
is  conspicuous  from  almost  every  page  of  the  parish  records. 
Leaving  out  the  more  gross  of  the  delinquencies  which  incurred 
censure  or  punishment,  we  offer  the  following  specimens  of 
offences,  and  the  method  of  dealing  with  them,  from  the  records 
of  the  parish  of  Innerleithen  between  1641  and  1657.  A  man  put 
to  the  pillar  (or  obliged  to  stand  at  the  door  of  the  church  with 
his  neck  in  an  iron  collar  attached  by  a  chain  to  the  wall)  for 
ricking  corn  on  the  Lord's  day.  Several  parties  cited  for  scolding 
and  flyting,  several  for  being  drunk,  and  one  man  for  casting  down 
a  dyke  on  the  Sabbath.  A  disbursement  of  £4  Scots  on  account 
of  a  process  of  witchcraft.  William  Brunton  for  '  knocking  beir' 
on  the  Sabbath,  humbly  acknowledges  his  guilt  on  his  knees.  John 
Tait,  miller,  stands  on  the  stool  of  repentance  for  keeping  his 
mill  going  on  Sunday.  Elders  and  deacons  are  appointed  to 
visit  people's  houses  on  Sabbath,  and  report  who  are  absent  from 
church.  The  sinful  custom  of  hiring  servants  in  the  churchyard 
after  sermon  severely  denounced  ;  persons  guilty  to  be  punished. 
A  number  of  people  cited  to  appear  before  the  session  for 
amusing  themselves  on  the  green  the  previous  Sabbath  evening. 
Several  women  accused  of  gathering  nuts  on  the  Sabbath-day, 
and  they  make  their  satisfaction  on  the  stool  of  repentance.  A 
man  is  charged  with  having  carried  a  load  of  meal  on  Sunday, 
and  another  commits  the  transgression  of  hounding  his  dog  on 
his  sheep  '  mair  throughly  than  ordinar '  on  the  Sabbath  at 
Nether  Horsburgh.  Robert  Murray  complains  that  James  Lees 
had  slandered  his  wife  by  calling  her  a  witch  ;  the  case  to  go 


before  the  Presbytery.  Several  persons  cited  for  having  eaten 
dinner  at  John  Frizzell's  house  in  the  time  of  the  afternoon- 
service  on  Sunday.  Having  compeared,  they  said  they  were 
waiting  upon  a  sick  woman  who  could  not  go  out.  But  the 
session  discrediting  this  excuse,  insisted  that  the  fact  of  a  dinner 
having  been  prepared  looked  very  like  the  superstitious  practice 
called  a  '  kirkin'  feast,'  and  the  parties  were  ordered  to  appear  on 
the  stool  of  repentance  on  their  knees.  Finally,  two  women  are 
accused  of  having  consulted  a  witch  regarding  the  health  of  a 

From  the  book  of  the  parish  of  Drummelzier,  we  learn  that  in 
1649  many  persons  could  not  read.  The  fact  is  elicited  by  an 
order  being  announced  from  the  General  Assembly  enjoining 
family  worship,  when  some  declared  they  could  not  read,  and 
had  no  one  in  their  families  who  could  do  so.  Those  who  were 
so  ignorant  were  ordered  to  send  their  children  to  school.  But 
even  with  a  knowledge  of  letters,  there  was  the  prevalent  belief 
in  witchcraft.  Under  date  1652,  July  28,  we  find  in  the  records 
of  this  parish  :  '  Paid  to  Mr  Andrew  Watson,  vicar  of  Peebles, 
.£3  Scots  as  part  payment  of  100  merks  due  by  the  Presbytery 
for  burning  witches.'  Two  years  previously,  1650,  June  9,  the 
kirk-session  of  Newlands  refused  to  pay  the  sum  asked  by  the 
magistrates  of  Peebles  for  watching  witches  in  the  prison  there, 
the  reason  alleged  being  that  there  were  'only  four  witches  in  the 
prison,  and  little  watching  needed.' 

Another  peculiarity  of  the  time  was  the  keeping  of  fast-days, 
which  were  ordered  for  the  most  trifling  reasons.  This,  however, 
continued  to  be  a  feature  of  the  Scottish  ecclesiastical  polity 
until  a  comparatively  recent  period.  An  old  minister  having 
occasion  to  find  fault  with  the  conduct  of  his  son,  who  was 
appointed  his  assistant  and  successor,  intimated  a  fast  in  the 
following  terms :  '  A  day  of  solemn  fasting,  my  frien's,  for  yere 
ain  sins,  for  my  sins,  and  for  our  Jock's  sins.' 

It  is  deserving  of  notice  that  in  none  of  the  records,  from  the 
latter  part  of  the  reign  of  Charles  I.  until  the  Restoration,  is 
there  any  notice  of  public  or  private  amusements,  unless  for  the 


purpose  of  denouncing  them  as  sinful.  The  dancing  of  men  and 
women  together  is  particularly  condemned.  A  complaint  comes 
before  the  Presbytery  in  1650,  '  respecting  promiscuous  dancing 
of  men  and  women  together,  especially  at  marriages,  and  it  is 
ordained  that  those  who  are  guilty  of  this  offence  shall  give 
public  satisfaction,  according  to  acts  of  General  Assembly' 
(P.  R.)  ;  the  result  being,  that  the  people  were  driven  to  seek 
clandestine  indulgences,  which  leave  a  woful  evidence  in  all  the 
documents  we  have  consulted. 

According  to  several  parish  records,  the  kirk-sessions  waged  a 
long  and  unsuccessful  war  against  the  ancient  practice  of 
gossiping  in  the  churchyard  before  and  after  divine  service  on 
Sundays.  Perhaps  the  custom  generally  was  not,  as  in  Inner- 
leithen,  carried  the  length  of  hiring  servants  on  these  occasions, 
but  there  was  everywhere  a  cherished  practice  of  chatting 
subduedly  about  ordinary  and  family  affairs  near  the  kirk-door, 
or  while  loitering  in  the  sunshine  among  the  gravestones  between 
the  forenoon  and  afternoon  services.  As  the  poor  people  who 
sought  this  recreation  probably  lived  miles  apart,  and  had  little 
opportunity  of  meeting  on  week-days,  the  sin  of  speaking  to 
each  other  in  the  churchyard  on  Sundays  might  have  been 
viewed  with  some  degree  of  indulgence ;  but  any  such  tempor- 
ising was  contrary  to  the  relentless  ecclesiastical  discipline  of  the 
period.  In  the  parish  of  Newlands,  in  particular,  the  kirk-session 
issued  frequent  warnings  on  the  subject  of  this  heinous  offence, 
without  effect.  Humouring  their  minister  in  most  things,  the 
parishioners  could  by  no  threats  of  censure  be  brought  to  abstain 
from  conversing  in  the  churchyard  on  Sundays.  A  young  man  is 
said  to  have  audaciously  declared,  that  'he  wadna  gie  the  crack  in 
the  kirkyard  for  twa  days'  preachin' ' — a  declaration  that  reminds 
us  of  the  rustic  hero  lamented  in  Mayne's  version  of  the  song, 
Logan  Water. 

1  Nae  mair  at  Logan  kirk  will  he, 
Atween  the  preachin's,  meet  wi'  me — 
Meet  wi'  me,  and  when  it 's  mirk, 
Convoy  me  hame  frae  Logan  kirk. ' 

After  a  long  interval,  for  which  the  volumes  are  missing,  the 


burgh  records  of  Peebles  are  resumed  on  the  I2th  of  July  1650, 
and  the  first  entry  worth  specifying  is  one  respecting  the  famous 
Mirk  or  Dark  Monday,  as  registered  by  Thomas  Smyth,  town- 

'  Upon  Monday,  the  2gth  of  March  1652,  the  sun  eclipsed  from  eight 
hours  to  half-hour  to  eleven,  or  thereby,  before  noon,  the  sun  eclipsed 
eleven  digits  ;  the  darkness  continued  about  eight  minutes.  The  people 
all  began  to  pray  to  God.  A  little  hereafter  was  seen  upon  the  south 
side  of  the  firmament  a  clear  perfect  star.  Some  affirmed  they  saw  two, 
but  I  one  only.' — Smyth  adds  a  sentence  in  Latin,  which  may  be  thus 
translated  :  '  And  because  this  has  been  rare  and  wonderful,  therefore  I 
judged  it  worthy  to  put  it  on  record.' 

Although  the  country  was  at  this  time  in  an  agony  of  transi- 
tion from  the  monarchy  to  the  Protectorate,  the  burgh  books 
embrace  nothing  respecting  public  affairs,  and  we  only  learn 
incidentally  that  troops  were  stationed  in  the  town.  The  greater 
number  of  entries  in  the  record  refer  to  assaults,  and  the  fines 
which  were  imposed  in  consequence.  We  select  the  following  in 
illustration  of  public  manners  between  1652  and  1658. 

1652,  Aug.  14.  Ordains  ane  watch  to  be  kept  nightly  for  restraining 
the  stealing  of  corn  in  time  of  harvest. — Andrew  Haldane,  miller,  to  be 
imprisoned  in  the  steeple  for  disobedience  to  an  act  of  Council. — Inflicts 
upon  Catherine  Porteous,  for  riot  upon  Nanse  Smaille,  a  fine  of  ten  pounds 
Scots. — 1653,  Jan.  10.  Thomas  Murdo,  guilty  of  riot  done  upon  John 
Plenderleith,  bailie,  to  be  fined  ten  pounds  Scots,  and  banished  from  the 
town. — John  Mitchell  and  William  Jackson,  herds  in  Glenrath,  found 
guilty  of  blood  and  riot  on  each  other ;  Mitchell  to  be  fined  twelve 
pounds,  and  Jackson  five  pounds,  Scots. — Feb.  7.  Ordains  William 
Jenkison  and  Christian  Pulson  to  pay  to  the  treasurer,  for  riot  committed 
on  each  other,  forty  shillings  Scots  each,  or  to  remain  in  ward. — Thomas 
Moses,  waulker  [cloth-fuller],  fined  ten  pounds  Scots  for  riot  and  keeping 
ane  dog  for  biting. — The  Council  remits  the  riot  committed  by  Thomas 
Williamson,  writer,  upon  James  Anderson,  on  condition  he  shall  carry 
himself  more  civilly  in  time  coming,  wherein,  if  he  fail,  this  to  be  charged 
against  him. — Inflicts  upon  George  Thomson,  for  riot  committed  by 
him  in  removing  a  plough  off  the  lands  of  Alexander  Brotherstanes, 

1  The  part  where  the  entry  occurs  being  greatly  damaged  and  scarcely  legible,  we 
have  preferred  adopting  a  copy  which  had  been  taken  by  John  M  'Ewen,  town-clerk, 
and  inserted  in  the  Scots  Magazine,  vol.  xxxix.  p.  251  ;  May  1777. 


threttie  shillings  Scots. — March  14.  Andrew  Turnbull,  baxter,  and  John 
Dickson,  to  be  incarcerated  twenty-four  hours  for  riot. — Discharges  all 
burgesses  to  set  houses  to  vagabonds  or  incomers,  and  no  beggars  to  be 
lodged  more  than  ane  nicht,  under  pains  specified  in  acts  of  parliament 
— March  21.  Thomas  Moses,  waulker,  found  guilty  of  having  stated 
falsely  in  face  of  the  Council,  that  Robert  Steill,  wabster,  stole  six 
pounds  of  his  yairn,  is  to  pay  a  fine  of  twelve  pounds  Scots  to  the 
treasurer,  then  to  be  incarcerated  in  the  steeple  until  the  morrow  at 
eleven  hours,  at  which  time  the  bailies  to  set  him  on  the  market-cross 
with  ane  paper  on  his  head,  bearing  these  words :  '  Here  stand  I, 
Thomas  Moses,  for  calumniating  Robert  Steill,  in  calling  him  ane  thief, 
wherein  I  have  failed,'  for  the  space  of  two  hours  ;  thereafter  he  shall  sit 
down  upon  his  knees,  confess  his  fault,  and  crave  mercy  of  the  party 
offended ;  lastly,  to  be  taken  to  prison,  and  remain  therein  till  he  pay 
the  first  sum,  and  all  other  fines  imposed  on  him. — Euphan  Pringle, 
spouse  to  Patrick  Dickson,  accused  of  committing  riot  upon  Janet 
Dickson  and  Mat  Leadbetter  on  the  Lord's  day,  within  the  church  of 
Peebles ;  grants  pushing  over  Janet  Dickson,  and  dunching  her  upon  the 
neck,  and  comes  in  will  therefor,  but  denies  doing  any  wrong  to  Mat 
Leadbetter ;  witnesses  to  be  summoned. — March  28.  John  Hay,  fiar  of 
Smithfield,  accused  of  riot,  committed  by  him  upon  Bessie  Robison, 
servitrix  to  Sir  James  Hay  of  Smithfield ;  grants  striking  her  with  his  foot, 
and  comes  in  will ;  therefore  the  Council  inflicts  on  him  a  fine  of  three 
pounds,  to  be  paid  to  the  treasurer. — April  4.  William  Hay,  second 
lawful  son  of  Sir  James  Hay  of  Smithfield,  accused  of  riot  committed  by 
him  upon  John  Brisbane,  merchant  burgess,  in  striking  him  with  ane 
baton  in  presence  of  William  Lowes,  provost ;  he  grants  and  comes  in 
will ;  the  Council  therefore  fine  him  twenty  merks. — At  the  same  time, 
Brisbane  is  found  guilty  of  using  outrageous  words  towards  William  Hay, 
in  calling  him  ane  base  knave  in  face  of  the  Council,  and  he  is  to  find 
caution  to  keep  the  peace. — William  Wichtman  grants  striking  Robert 
Porteous  on  the  breast,  and  is  fined  threttie  shillings. — Susanna  Twedaill, 
servitrix  to  Thomas  Moses,  grants  casting  stones  at  the  magistrates  when 
they  were  executing  their  office  upon  her  master,  and  she  is  to  pay  ten 
merks  Scots. — May  25.  James  Brotherstanes  and  his  spouse  fined  ten 
merks  for  riot  in  drawing  of  ane  knife  in  presence  of  the  provost — 
June  27.  Alexander  Lauder,  dean  of  guild,  accused  of  riot  committed 
on  Andrew  Ellmond,  traveller ;  case  postponed. — July  20.  Several 
female  dealers  convicted  of  selling  victuals  with  ane  unjust  caup. — 
July  29.  Thomas  Williamson  and  others  convicted  of  riot,  and  fined. — 
Aug.  5.  Ordains  that  the  parents  of  children  who  destroy  and  eat  pease, 
or  break  into  fruit-yards  and  plantings,  shall  pay  a  fine  of  five  pounds 
Scots. — Aug.  19.  James  Byres,  senator  to  John  Frank,  also  Bessie 


Hislop,  convicted  and  fined  for  riot. — Dec.  16.  Inflicts  upon  John 
Frank,  treasurer,  for  riot  committed  upon  James  Haldane,  a  fine  of  five 
pounds  Scots. — Inflicts  upon  William  Porteous,  for  blood  and  riot,  a  fine 
of  six  pounds  Scots. — Dec.  30.  John  Buchanan  found  guilty  of  baking 
wheat-bread  less  than  the  legal  weight,  and  of  menacing  the  treasurer 
when  he  was  challenged ;  fined  forty  shillings  Scots. — John  Murray, 
wabster,  for  riot  committed  on  Nanse  Wilson,  a  fine  of  threttie  shillings 
Scots. — 1654,  March  17.  James  Broth erstanes  convicted  of  blood  and 
riot,  to  pay  four  pounds  Scots. — April  7.  Walter  Stewart,  burgess, 
fined  for  riot,  ten  pounds  Scots. — April  14.  Another  baxter  accused  of 
baking  and  selling  bread  of  light  weight ;  fined  fifty  shillings. — April  28. 
Alexander  Anderson,  wabster,  for  abusing  and  railing  upon  Alexander 
Williamson,  bailie,  is  fined  forty  shillings  Scots. — Patrick  Dickson, 
merchant,  comes  in  will  for  abusing  the  magistrates ;  fined  forty  shillings 
Scots. — William  Porteous,  for  calumniating  the  twa  bailies,  the  same 
fine. — May  5.  James  Brotherstanes,  younger,  guilty  of  drawing  a  knife 
to  the  provost,  and  of  blaspheming  and  cursing,  comes  in  the  Council's 
will ;  case  postponed. — William  Burnet  accused  of  the  like  offence  ;  fine 
threttie  shillings  Scots. — Aug.  18.  Alexander  Williamson,  bailie,  confesses 
riot,  and  comes  in  will. — Oct.  27.  Inflicts  upon  John  Hay,  servitor  to 
Lady  Smithfield,  a  fine  of  ten  merks  for  riot. — Marjory  Buchan,  servitrix 
to  Bessie  Veitch,  found  guilty  of  riot  committed  upon  a  soldier  in 
Captain  Hatchman's  company ;  fined  twenty  merks. — Dec.  18.  Thomas 
Govan,  litster,  for  riot  committed  upon  his  servant,  a  fine  of  ten  merks. 
— Ordains  Gilbert  Mitchell,  for  theft,  to  stand  with  ane  paper  on  his 
head,  at  the  cross,  for  the  space  of  ane  hour,  and  thereafter  to  be 
scourged  from  the  cross  to  the  West  Port. — 1655,  Jan.  15.  John  Frank, 
treasurer,  again  fined  for  riot. — Jan.  28.  Inflicts  upon  Sir  John  Hay,  for 
riot,  a  fine  of  twenty  merks. — Feb.  12.  Andrew  Forrest,  for  riot  upon 
George  Horsburgh,  is  fined  forty  shillings. — Feb.  19.  Bessie  Mitchell 
and  Marion  Frissell  to  stand  at  the  cross  with  a  paper  on  their  heads, 
and  then  banished,  for  reset  of  theft. — Feb.  26.  Mathew  Banks,  for 
blood  and  riot,  fined  ten  merks. — April  30.  Sir  John  Hay,  for  blood  and 
riot  committed  upon  James  Murray,  to  pay  a  fine  of  twenty  pounds 
Scots. — Murray,  for  drawing  of  ane  whinger  on  Sir  John,  to  pay  the 
same. — May  7.  Alexander  Tweedie  of  Kingledoors,  for  riot  and  troubling 
the  fair  on  Beltane-day,  fined  twenty  pounds  Scots. — Sept.  29.  Sir  John 
Hay,  for  blood  and  riot  upon  John  Brunton,  to  pay  a  fine  of  twenty 
pounds  Scots ;  and  to  give  his  band  for  this  and  his  former  riots. — 
Oct  15.  Ane  band  of  tnreescore  pounds  granted  to  the  town  by  Sir 
John  Hay  for  his  riots. — 1656,  March  24.  Thomas  Williamson,  John 
Horsburgh,  and  others  fined  for  not. — Aug.  4.  Lawburrows  against  the 
inhabitants  of  the  town,  holding  them  in  penalties  should  they  molest 


the  Laird  of  Blackbarony,  his  family,  or  servants.  [This  points  to  some 
quarrel  about  the  common  of  Glentress.] — 1657,  April  6.  A  number  of 
persons  convicted  of  blood  and  riot,  and  fined  accordingly. — Sept.  16. 
Andrew  Anderson,  wabster,  and  Patrick  Edgar,  to  be  put  in  prison  for 
disobedience  to  the  commands  of  the  magistrates. — 1658,  March  2. 
John  Stoddart  and  William  Porteous  convicted  of  riot,  are  fined  each 
three  pounds  Scots. — Nov.  15.  Enactment  as  to  method  of  levying  and 
apportioning  fines  for  riot. 

Such  is  a  view  of  the  state  of  society  in  a  small  country  town 
in  Scotland  at  a  period  ordinarily  referred  to  as  remarkable 
for  its  religious  excellence.  To  enliven  the  picture,  we  have 
diverting  ordinances  concerning  the  regulation  of  prices,  the 
exclusion  of  strangers  and  unfreemen  from  the  burgh,  and  other 
matters.  The  following  are  a  few  specimens  of  this  species  of 
legislation,  extending  to  1676. 

1652,  Sept.  15.  The  Provost,  Bailies,  and  Council  ordain  all 
merchants,  sellers  of  candles  in  the  burgh,  to  sell  the  pound-weight  at 
'  sax  shillings  and  aucht  pence,  and  the  price  of  ilk  candle  to  be  five 
pennies,  being  fifteen  candles  to  the  pund  ;  above  fifteen  candles  in  the 
pund,  the  single  candle  to  be  four  pennies  Scots.  And  this  in  respect 
that  candles  are  sold  in  Edinburgh  at  five  shillings  the  pund.' — 1653, 
April  25.  The  magistrates  ordain  that  four  shillings  Scots  shall  be  the 
day's  wage  for  a  man  casting  divots.  Item,  A  day's  work  of  a  horse  in 
ploughing,  harrowing,  or  loading,  to  be  sax  shillings  and  aucht  pence. 
And  whoever  exacts  more  than  these  allowances,  to  pay  for  the  first 
fault,  twenty  shillings  ;  the  second,  forty  shillings  ;  and  the  third,  loss  of 
freedom. — The  Council  declares  James  Steventoun  in  Haystoun  to  be 
only  ane  causeway  burgess  until  he  find  caution  to  scot,  lot,  watch,  and 
ward  as  other  burgesses. — Nov.  4.  Ordains  all  the  ale  to  be  sold  for 
saxteen  pennies  the  pint  [one  penny-farthing  sterling  for  two  quarts], 
after  Tuesday  next.  Item,  Ordains  the  baxters  and  sellers  of  wheat 
bread  to  make  loaves  of  one  pound-weight  for  twelve  pennies  [one  penny 
sterling]  the  piece ;  ilk  person  contravening,  to  pay  five  pounds  Scots. — 
1654,  May  26.  Ordains  the  ale  to  be  sold,  after  this  day,  at  twelve 
pennies  the  pint,  under  a  penalty  of  five  pounds  Scots. — 1655,  Oct  15. 
Ordains  the  multure  malt  to  be  sold  at  seven  pounds  the  boll. — 1657, 
Nov.  2.  Inflicts  a  fine  of  forty  shillings  on  John  Hay,  tailor,  for  usurping 
the  liberty  of  ane  burgess,  and  working  within  the  town. — 1658,  Nov.  15. 
The  Council,  referring  to  former  acts  on  the  subject,  ordains  that  all 
male  children  shall  attend  the  public  school,  and  all  women  who  keep 


schools  in  the  burgh  are  prohibited  from  taking  any  male  child,  under 
the  pain  of  twenty  shillings  Scots  for  ilk  male  child  they  shall  receive. — 
1662,  Aug.  n.  Ordains  the  daily  wages  of  men-shearers  to  be  four 
shillings  Scots,  and  ilk  woman-shearer  forty  pennies  Scots. — 1664, 
June  27.  The  Council  licenses  Alexander  Borthwick,  wright,  upon 
sufficient  testimonial  of  his  life  and  conversation,  to  come  to  this  burgh, 
and  follow  his  calling,  but  at  the  Council's  pleasure. — Sept.  26.  Ordains 
eggs  to  be  sold  at  sixteen  pennies  the  dozen,  under  pain  of  forty 
shillings — 1670,  Sept.  20.  Ordains  John  Turnbull,  baxter,  to  bake 
to  all  persons  within  burgh  that  employ  him,  five  firlots  of  flour  for 
twenty-four  shillings  Scots,  and  threttie  pennies  to  his  boy  for  wetting 
and  kneading  thereof ;  but  if  the  owner  wet  and  knead  it,  to  be  free  of 
the  threttie  pennies.  And  likewise  ordains  Turnbull  and  all  others  that 
sell  flour,  to  sell  it,  in  time  coming,  at  the  same  price  at  which  they  buy 
the  wheat,  in  respect  they  have  the  owercome  of  the  wheat,  and  round 
thereof,  for  their  pains  and  profit ;  whereto  he  assents. — 1673,  Aug.  3. 
The  same  baxter,  for  buying  ground  malt  from  the  country  in  prejudice 
of  the  town-mills,  is  fined  threttie  shillings  Scots. — 1674,  May  4.  Ordains 
that  no  yarn  shall  be  sold  in  clues,  but  in  hanks  ;  all  clues  offered  for 
sale  to  be  confiscated. — Dec.  7.  The  cordiners  are  to  take  no  more  for 
single-soled  work  than  eight  pennies,  and  for  double-soled  work,  twelve 
pennies. — 1676,  June  5.  All  meal  and  butter  sold  in  the  town  to  be 
first  offered  in  open  market,  or  if  sold  otherwise,  to  be  confiscated. 

At  this  period  the  town  books  are  full  of  entries  respecting 
assessments,  and  also  the  excise,  which  was  a  novel  and  by  no 
means  popular  kind  of  taxation  in  Scotland.  The  plan  pursued 
in  levying  imposts  consisted  in  exacting  a  certain  sum  from  each 
county  or  town,  the  authorities  in  which  were  left  to  devise 
methods  of  raising  the  requisite  amount.  Peebles  appears  to 
have  taken  so  very  ill  to  these  exactions,  that  the  council  did  not 
think  it  unfair  to  employ  a  little  manoeuvring  and  bribery  in 
order  to  screw  down  the  amount  exigible — witness  the  two 
following  candid  entries  in  the  record  of  proceedings.  1653, 
Nov.  4. — The  Council  appoint  Robert  Thomson  to  ride  into 
Dalkeith  on  Monday  next,  to  present  the  town's  supplication 
anent  the  assessment,  and  allows  him  to  give  the  secretary  two 
rix-dollars.  1657,  Jan.  16. — John  Govan  to  go  to  Leith  to 
arrange  respecting  the  excise,  and  to  offer  two  shillings  if  he  can 
carry  it. — B.  R.  We  are  not  told  what  was  the  amount  of  excise 


levied  from  Peebles  at  this  time,  but  in  1668,  it  was  agreed  that 
the  sum  should  be  'ane  hundred  and  ten  merks  monthly.' 
Whatever  was  the  amount,  there  was  only  one  way  of  raising  it 
from  the  inhabitants.  The  Council  appointed  '  quarter-masters/ 
who  were  authorised  '  to  break  the  cess,'  or  apportion  it  on 
families  within  their  respective  districts.  The  grievance  arising 
from  Cromwell's  excise  was  probably  aggravated  by  the  presence 
of  his  soldiers.  The  conduct  of  the  English  army  in  Scotland 
has  been  generally  commended,  but,  according  to  the  kirk- 
session  records,  they  caused  some  trouble  in  Peeblesshire  ;  as 
for  example,  '  No  convening  of  the  congregation,  by  bands  ot 
English  who  were  corned  into  the  parish  for  the  purpose  of 
plundering.' — K.  S.  R.,  Newlands,  1651.  The  garrison  in  Peebles 
does  not  seem  to  have  been  exempt  from  the  blame  of  leaving 
householders  and  dealers  to  mourn  over  bad  debts.  Under  date, 
December  16,  1653,  it  is  ordained  that  in  the  case  of  '  loss  by  the 
soldiers  quartered  in  the  town,  the  landlords  and  other  creditors 
are  to  bear  it  equally,  according  to  their  furnishing  abilities,  in 
reckoning  with  the  contributors.' — B.  R.  In  1654,  the  Presbytery 
could  not  proceed  to  business,  '  in  regard  of  the  Inglish  in  the 
town,'  from  which  statement  alone  it  may  be  inferred  that  some 
trouble  arose  from  the  military  occupation  of  the  burgh. 

At  this  period,  1654,  while  Monk  was  in  Scotland,  a  number 
of  irregular  parties  of  natives  went  about  armed  in  the  southern 
counties,  doing  all  they  could  to  disturb  the  English  in  possession 
of  the  country.  The  Earl  of  Traquair,  and  sundry  gentlemen 
of  the  county  of  Tweeddale,  met  at  Peebles  in  force,  to  devise 
measures  for  repressing  these  violences.  '  The  Scots  being 
acquainted  with  the  meeting,  fell  out  upon  them,  seized  upon 
the  Earl  of  Traquair  and  rest  of  these  gentlemen,  took  frae 
them  their  horses,  saddles,  clothes,  and  riding-buits,  and  forcit 
them  to  desert  the  meetings.  They  passed  also  to  Lanark, 
where  they  remained  sundry  days,  and  proclaimed  the  fair 
of  Lanark  to  be  held,  with  great  solemnity,  in  King  Charles's 
name,  without  danger  to  their  persons.' l  These,  it  may  be 

1  Nichol's  Diary  of  Transactions  in  Scotland,  p.  130. 


remarked,  were  the  first  persons  to  whom  the  name  Tories  was 
given  in  Scotland,  the  word  having  been  originally  applied  to 
similar  guerrilla  troopers  in  Ireland.  Outrages  such  as  that  just 
mentioned  necessarily  caused  the  maintenance  of  English 
regiments  in  Peebles. 

From  sundry  notices  in  the  town  books,  it  is  learned  that,  in 
past  times,  works  of  various  kinds,  such  as  making  pieces  of 
road  and  building  bridges,  were  executed  by  compulsory  contri- 
butions of  labour  under  magisterial  authority.  Already,  it  has 
been  seen  that  the  bridge  across  the  Tweed  at  Peebles  was,  to  a 
material  extent,  constructed  under  this  species  of  obligation.  In 
1653,  several  cases  occur. — June  27.  Upon  the  humble  desire 
of  Patrick  Scott  of  Thirlstane,  to  have  ane  brig  across  the 
Yarrow,  the  magistrates  of  Peebles  ordain  that  all  in  the  town 
who  have  horses,  shall  send  the  same  for  a  day  to  carry  lime  for 
the  said  brig,  under  a  penalty  of  forty  shillings. — July  8.  For 
building  ane  stone  brig  across  the  mill-dam  to  the  malt-mill  of 
Peebles,  ilk  burgess  shall  lay  twa  loads  of  stones  under  penalty 
of  twelve  shillings. — Nov.  4.  All  who  have  horses,  to  send  the 
same  on  Monday  next  for  loading  stones  to  big  ane  barn  ;  ilk 
horse  six  loads. — Dec.  2.  It  is  enacted  that,  on  occasions  of 
carrying  baggage  of  soldiers  or  posts,  that  ilk  burgess  having 
horses  shall  tour  about,  beginning  for  the  first  at  the  north-west 
yett. — 1657,  July  20.  The  magistrates  and  Council  taking  into 
consideration  the  petition  of  the  parishioners  of  Linton,  craving 
assistance  for  repairing  the  Bridge-house  bridge,  vote  for  the 
purpose  twenty-four  pounds  Scots  money,  to  be  paid  by  the 
treasurer. — 1661,  June  17.  The  Council  ordain  that  all  able 
horses  in  the  town  shall  carry  in  sklaitts  from  Stobo  to  the  house 
of  Craigmillar,  belonging  to  Sir  John  Gilmore,  President  of  the 
Session ;  ilk  person  contravening  under  the  pain  of  five  pounds 
Scots.  [Rather  hard  this  last  civic  ordinance,  impressing  horses 
to  carry  slates  a  distance  of  thirty  miles,  in  order  to  serve  a 
person  with  whom  the  burgh  had  no  concern.] 

The  Council  did  not  confine  itself  to  enforcing  labour  for 
public  or  private  works.  On  the  2Qth  of  September  1654,  it 


ordained,  '  that  all  who  give  houses  to  young  women  able  for 
service,  shall  remove  them  betwixt  and  Martinmas,  under  a 
penalty  of  five  pounds  Scots.'  It  is  further  ordained,  that  all 
such  women  shall  go  to  service,  under  pain  of  banishment. 
Lastly,  persons  are  appointed  to  visit  different  quarters  of  the 
town  in  search  of  women  fit  for  service.  Despotic  as  were  these 
measures,  the  burgh  authorities  acted  only  according  to  law,  and 
were  rivalled  in  vigilance  by  the  justices  of  peace  for  the  county, 
to  whose  proceedings  we  may  for  a  moment  draw  attention. 

The  Justice  of  Peace  Records  of  the  county  commence  in 
1656,  at  which  time  Sir  Archibald  Murray  of  Blackbarony  was 
high-sheriff.  The  earliest  volume  comprehends  a  set  of  distinct 
instructions  from  the  Council  of  the  Protector,  regarding  the 
searching  out  and  punishment  of  offences  ;  to  aid  them  in  which 
duty,  the  justices  are  to  appoint  constables  for  districts,  who 
shall,  from  time  to  time,  report  on  every  sort  of  transgression 
within  their  respective  bounds.  This  arrangement  was,  in  effect, 
taking  the  punishment  of  a  variety  of  offences  out  of  the  hands  of 
the  sheriffs ;  but  as  these  had  never  been  renowned  for  keeping  the 
peace  themselves,  or  in  causing  it  to  be  kept  by  others,  the  new 
authority  communicated  to  the  justices  was  so  far  an  improve- 
ment on  old  usages.  The  only  thing  to  be  spoken  of,  not 
without  a  feeling  of  detestation,  was  the  inquisitorial  character  of 
the  bench  of  justices  as  now  organised  under  instructions  from 
head-quarters.  Not  satisfied  with  repressing  theft,  riot,  and 
other  crimes,  the  justices,  at  their  periodical  meetings,  received 
communications  respecting  the  private  conduct  of  individuals  ;  so 
that,  between  the  kirk-sessions  on  the  one  hand,  and  this  civil 
tribunal  on  the  other,  the  whole  population  of  the  sheriffdom 
lived  under  a  constant  and  minute  supervision.  To  judge  from 
the  records  before  us,  including  those  of  the  burgh,  the  justices 
of  peace,  the  presbytery,  and  the  kirk-sessions,  the  inquisition  into 
domestic  concerns  and  personal  deportment  was  universal  and 
terrific,  though  we  can  fancy  not  more  so  than  the  grovelling  hypo- 
crisy which  such  a  system  of  espionage  was  calculated  to  produce. 

In  looking  through  the  burgh  and  county  records,  the  more 


amusing  details  which  reward  the  trouble  of  investigation  are 
those  which  relate  to  the  settlement  of  rates  of  wages  of  men  and 
women  servants.  In  this  department  of  business,  the  justices  of 
peace  for  the  county  found  the  keen  scent  of  the  constables  to  be 
particularly  efficacious. 

1656,  April  i.  The  following  rates  of  servants'  fees  are  ordered  by  the 
justices  :  To  ane  able  man-servant  who  is  to  be  ploughman,  [living] 
within  house,  able  to  cut  garse,  divots,  or  peats,  or  work  any  sort  of 
husband  labour,  eight  pounds  Scots  of  money,  a  pair  of  single-soled 
shoone,  and  six  quarters  of  grey  [cloth],  or  the  worth  of  fourty  shillings 
Scots  for  his  shoone,  and  grey  at  his  own  option,  every  half-year.  To  a 
second  servant  for  husband  labour,  who  is  not  able  for  the  employment 
above  mentioned,  but  for  other  worke,  eight  merks  Scots  money,  six 
quarters  of  grey,  and  a  pair  of  single-soled  shoone  each  half-year.  To 
a  boy  or  lad  able  to  keep  cattle,  four  merks  Scots,  ane  ell  of  grey,  and  a 
pair  of  single-soled  shoone  each  half-year.  To  ane  able  woman-servant 
who  is  able  for  milking  cows,  barn,  and  byre,  and  all  sort  of  household 
worke,  for  the  summer  half-year,  fourty  shillings  Scots  of  money,  three 
quarters  of  wool,  or  fifty  shillings  money  and  half  a  stone  of  wool,  and  a 
pair  of  single-soled  shoone.  To  a  second  woman-servant  or  a  lasse,  two 
shillings  sterling  of  money,  six  pounds  of  wool,  and  a  pair  of  single-soled 
shoone  for  the  summer  half-yeare. — -J.  P.  R. 

Several  meetings  of  the  justices  ensue,  in  relation  to  these 
and  other  rates  of  wages,  at  one  of  which,  May  5,  1657,  it  is 
ordained,  '  that  all  employers  shall  testify  on  oath  what  fees  they 
have  conditioned  for  to  their  servants ;  and  whatsoever  is 
conditioned  more  than  the  said  act  allows,  the  surplus  shall  by 
the  masters  be  presently  payed  into  the  collector  of  the  fynes  of 
court,  and  they  to  have  retention  of  the  same  from  the  servants, 
if  the  fee  be  not  payed  ;  but  if  the  same  be  payed,  then  the 
servant  himself  to  be  imprisoned  till  he  pay  the  same  to  the 
collector  foresaid. 

'At  this  meeting,  the  justices  considering  their  former  rates 
for  best  sort  of  women-servants  to  be  too  low,  they  therefore 
allow  the  best  sort  of  women-servants  twentie  merks,  or  the 
value  thereof,  in  fee  and  bountiths,  yearlie.  It  being  found  that 
Robert  Hunter  of  Polmood  has  payed  in  excess  of  servants'  fees 
thirty-two  shillings,  he  is  ordered  to  pay  the  amount  presently  ; 


and  John  Hay  of  Haystoun,  the  preset,  payed  it  for  him  by  way 
of  loan.  James  Hunter  in  Stanhope  had  payed  in  excess  four 
pounds  ten  shillings  Scots,  whilk  he  presently  payed.  James 
Richarsone,  servant,  examined  on  oath ;  finds  he  got  a  merk 
more  than  the  rates  for  harvest. 

'Robert  Hunter  of  Polmood  being  called,  declares,  he  gives 
James  Bredan  three  soumes  and  a  half  smeired,  and  two  pair 
of  shoone  yearly ;  John  Wilson,  ploughman,  ten  lib.  [Scots]  in 
the  half-year,  and  a  pair  of  shoone ;  James  Vallance,  two  soume 
and  a  half,  and  two  pair  of  shoone  a  year.  Thomas  Hunter,  a 
second  servant,  one  soume  and  nyne  lib.,  half  a  merk  a  year,  with 
two  pair  of  shoone.  To  Marion  Tweedy,  a  stone  of  wool  and 
fyftie  shillings  the  half-year ;  Elizabeth  Lopeley,  ten  merks  and 
a  pair  of  shoone  the  half-year.  Find  that  John  Wilson's 
shoone  are  above  the  rate,  and  therefore  Polmood  is  to  pay  him 
a  shilling,  according  to  the  act.  Item,  For  Marion  Tweedy,  los. 
Item,  For  Elizabeth  Lopeley,  icxr.  Marion  Chisholme,  refusing 
to  declare  anent  her  servants,  is  ordered  to  go  to  prison. 

'James  Hunter  in  Stanhope,  judicially  sworn  anent  his 
servants'  fees,  declares  that  John  Hunter's  feeing  was  ordinarily 
three  soume  and  three  pair  of  shoone,  but  for  this  year  he  refused 
to  put  himself  in  the  said  James'  will  because  of  the  acts.  John 
Frisel  so  likewise.  Rt.  Mitchell's  fee  19  lib.  and  two  pair  of 
shoone,  and  half  a  boll  aits  sowing.  John  Jameson  as  the  first  two, 
and  the  soumes  to  be  full  and  smeired.  He  declares  they  have 
the  three  soums  presently  plenished,  and  ther  shoone  are  given 
them.  The  justices  find  the  three  pair  of  shoone  to  each  of  the 
three  servants  above  the  rates  of  feeing,  and  ordains  James 
Hunter  to  pay  for  them,  three  pair  for  each  of  them  at  icxr.  the 
pair,  whilk  amounts  to  4  lib.  ten  shillings  Scots,  and  if  he  pay 
not  betwixt  and  this  eight  days,  orders  it  to  be  doubled.  It  is 
presently  payed. 

1  Alexander  Harper,  examined  for  Wm.  Veitch,  ane  harvest- 
man,  declares  he  gave  him  7  lib.,  one  firlot  of  beir,  and  a  turse  of 
hay  out  of  good  will.  He  gave  to  Thomas  Ritchesone  ten 

merks,  a  firlot  of  aits,  and  land  to  sow  them  on,  and  ane  pair  of 



shoone  for  half  a  year.  •  Ordains  Alexander  Harper  to  pay  a 
merk.  James  Richesone  called,  declares,  he  got  8  lib.  for  the 
harvest,  whilk  is  found  to  be  above  the  acts  by  thirteen  shillings 
four  pennies.  James  Simson,  sworn,  declares,  he  gave  James 
Porteous  for  harvest  8  lib.  ;  to  William  Harper,  twentie  pounds, 
two  pair  of  shoone,  six  quarters  of  grey,  a  furlet  of  aits, 
and  land  for  sowing,  five  lambs'  grass,  and  a  shirt ;  for  whilk 
James  Porteous  is  ordered  to  pay  a  merk,  and  James  Simson  for 
William  Harper,  six  pounds  Scots.' — jf.  P.  R. 

From  the  foregoing,  it  is  observed  that  the  wages  and  allow- 
ances to  servants  were  placed  under  a  strict  system  of  regulation 
in  the  seventeenth  century,  and  that  any  excess  of  wage  over  the 
sum  permitted  by  the  justices  was  recoverable  in  the  form  of 
fine — the  whole  circumstances  narrated  affording  a  curious 
insight  into  the  social  arrangements  of  these  times.  The 
extracts  given  are  valuable  as  shewing  what  were  the  usual 
wages  paid  to  farm-servants  in  1657.  Twenty  merks,  or  2is.  8d. 
sterling,  were  allowed  to  be  paid  to  women  per  annum.  For  a 
man-servant,  three  soumes 1  were  allowed  ;  and  the  payment  to  a 
man  for  harvest- work  was  13^.  ^\d.  sterling.  We  further  learn 
that  the  price  of  a  pair  of  shoes  was  los.  Scots,  or  lod.  sterling. 

Succumbing  to  the  firm  rule  of  Cromwell,  the  Peeblesshire 
lairds,  as  a  body,  escaped  the  heavy  fines  laid  on  those  who 
rendered  themselves  obnoxious  to  government  at  this  trying 
period.  Two  persons,  however,  suffered  severely  for  their 
adhesion  to  the  cause  of  falling  royalty — John,  first  Earl  of 
Traquair,  whose  reverses  of  fortune  between  1645  and  1650 
will  afterwards  need  to  be  told  ;  and  Sir  William  Murray 
of  Stanhope,  who,  by  act  of  parliament  April  12,  1654,  was 
fined  in  the  heavy  sum  of  ^2000  sterling.  Traquair  was  the 
less  fortunate  of  the  two,  for  he  died  in  poverty  in  1659 ; 
whereas  Murray  lived  to  see  Charles  II.  resume  the  throne, 
and  to  be  rewarded  with  a  baronetcy.  Perhaps  the  pro- 
prietors in  the  county  generally  thought  they  suffered  enough, 

1  A  soume  of  grass  was  as  much  as  will  pasture  one   cow  or  five  sheep. — Acts 
James  VI. 


when,  in  common  with  their  neighbours,  they  were  subjected  to 
the  heavy  assessments  imposed  by  Cromwell  on  the  country. 
For  purposes  of  taxation,  the  county  valuation-roll  of  1556  was 
now  set  aside  as  antiquated,  and  commissioners  being  appointed 
to  make  a  new  and  correct  valuation  of  property,  they  issued 
their  award  in  1657.  Until  a  recent  date,  this  '  Roll  of  the  free 
Rent  of  the  Lands  and  Teinds  within  the  Shire  of  Tweeddale,' 
was  the  basis  of  assessment.  Interesting  as  is  this  document,  in 
shewing  the  rentals  of  property  at  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth 
century,  its  details  are  too  cumbrous  to  be  given  in  these  pages. 
We  content  ourselves  with  stating  that  the  entire  annual  rental 
of  Peeblesshire,  in  1657,  amounted  in  sterling  money  to  £4327, 
3-r.  lO^d. — a  fact  illustrative  of  the  still  backward  condition  in  all 
departments  of  rural  affairs. 

While  everything  was  in  a  state  of  comparative  rudeness  in 
the  county — the  lairds  with  all  their  decorous  obedience  smarting 
under  the  humiliations  of  1650  ;  the  kirk-sessions  prosecuting 
cases  of  witchcraft  and  Sabbath-breaking ;  the  people,  high  and 
low,  assaulting  each  other  on  the  slightest  provocation ;  the 
magistracy  in  town  and  country  vainly  attempting  to  regulate 
trade  and  the  wages  of  labour — while  such  was  the  imperfection 
of  mechanism  that  stone,  lime,  fuel,  and  other  heavy  articles 
were  carried  on  the  backs  of  horses,  and  such  the  social  disorder, 
that  the  country  was  overrun  by  sorners  and  gipsies,  with  no 
present  hope  of  amendment — while  in  farming  there  were  no 
green  crops  or  artificial  grasses  for  winter-fodder,  and  famines 
were  of  frequent  recurrence — we  say,  while  things  were  in  this 
dreary  rudimentary  state,  there  was  in  process  of  preparation  in 
Holland,  under  high  artistic  appliances,  and  favoured  by  the 
Dutch  government,  the  first  map  and  regular  description  of 
Peeblesshire.  Of  this  literary  curiosity,  we  may  give  some 

About  the  year  1608,  there  might  have  been  seen  wandering 
over  the  country  from  the  borders  to  John  O'Groat's,  an  enthu- 
siastic Scotsman,  animated  with  a  consuming  desire  to  make  a 
survey  of  the  several  counties.  The  name  of  this  eager  explorer, 


who  visited  Peeblesshire  in  the  course  of  his  perambulations,  was 
Timothy  Pont,  son  of  a  senator  of  the  College  of  Justice,  and 
who  seems  to  have  abandoned  the  profession  of  a  minister  of  the 
Scottish  Church  in  order  to  devote  himself  to  topographic 
pursuits.  Pont,  we  may  suppose,  spared  no  pains,  competent 
with  his  skill,  to  lay  down  accurate  maps  of  the  Scottish  counties. 
Unfortunately,  he  did  not  live  to  complete  his  meritorious  under- 
taking. After  his  decease,  his  papers  would  have  been  consigned 
to  destruction,  but  for  the  patriotic  and  literary  zeal  of  Sir  John 
Scott  of  Scottstarvit,  who  prevailed  on  Sir  Robert  Gordon  of 
Straloch  to  revise  and  correct  the  surveys  left  by  Pont ;  and  on 
the  death  of  Sir  Robert,  the  work  of  revision  was  continued  by 
his  son.  Still  further  to  perfect  the  undertaking,  Scott  endea- 
voured to  procure  accounts  of  the  parishes  from  their  respective 
ministers  ;  thus  foreshadowing  the  efforts  of  Sir  John  Sinclair,  a 
century  and  a  half  later.  Apparently  determined  to  do  justice 
to  Font's  valuable  labours,  and  influenced  also  with  a  wish  to 
live  in  retirement  during  the  Usurpation,  Sir  John  Scott  pro- 
ceeded to  Holland,  and  secured  the  issue  of  the  Scottish  county 
maps  in  the  great  work  of  Blaew,1  who,  in  his  preface  to  the 
fifth  volume,  gratefully  acknowledges  his  obligations  to  the 
'  Sieur  Scot  Tarvatius,'  not  only  for  correcting  the  maps,  but  for 
furnishing  the  letterpress  descriptions  which  accompany  them. 

Here,  then,  oddly  enough,  issued  by  a  bookseller  of  Amsterdam, 
we  have  the  first  map  of  Tweeddale,  and  also  the  earliest  regular 
description  of  the  county,  extending  to  two  folio  pages,  double 
columns.  Map  and  description  are  alike  interesting,  the  map  in 
particular,  for,  though  purporting  to  be  dated  1654,  it  is  corrected 
from  the  survey  of  Pont  in  1608,  and,  as  such,  affords  us  a  fair 
idea  of  the  localities  in  the  county  in  the  reign  of  James  VI.  As 
seen  at  a  glance,  it  is  far  from  accurate  as  regards  boundaries. 
Portions  of  the  shire  on  the  west  and  north  are  assigned  to 

1  La  Thi&tre  du  Monde,  ou  Nouvcl  Atlas  de  Jean  Blaev  ;  Amsteldami,  MDCLIV. 
The  work  is  in  five  volumes  folio,  and  consists  of  coloured  maps,  interleaved  with 
descriptions  in  the  French  language ;  the  concluding  volume  being  devoted  to  Scotland 
and  Ireland.  The  beauty,  the  gigantic  dimensions,  and  doubtless  the  costliness  of  this 
remarkable  work,  constitute  a  singular  bibliographic  curiosity. 

MAP  OF  PEEBLES-SHIRE.copieioiiareduced scale  fromBLAEV'S 

W.&  H.i'HAMBEHS,  | 

FLAS,  1654,  skewing  rlic  mm.u-  as  suiwvc<l  k TIMOTHY  FOOT.  KJ08. 


Clydesdale,  which  is  clearly  a  blunder,  for  places  within  these 
extended  portions  are  included  in  the  description.  The  southern 
boundary  is  equally  erroneous.  With  the  names  of  places,  great 
havoc  is  made ;  but  this,  like  other  errors,  is  probably  not  so 
much  due  to  Pont  or  the  learned  '  Tarvatius,'  as  to  the  defective 
knowledge  of  the  foreign  artists.  With  all  its  imperfections,  this 
map  is  so  full  of  interest,  that  we  adjoin  a  copy  on  a  reduced 

In  the  description  given  of  Peeblesshire  by  Blaew,  we  have 
some  unexpected  details ;  being,  for  example,  told  that,  in  the 
lower  part  of  the  county,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Selkirkshire,1 
the  sheep  find  the  pasturage  so  good  and  wholesome,  they  live 
to  be  fifteen  years  old  before  they  die  of  any  malady — a  fact  not 
easily  reconcilable  with  the  ordinary  purposes  of  the  store- 

It  has  been  sometimes  represented  on  the  faith  of  popular 
tradition,  that  the  lairds  in  Peeblesshire  fled  during  the  iron 
rule  of  Cromwell ;  but  however  distasteful  it  may  have  been  for 
them  to  bear  allegiance  to,  and  act  in  any  official  capacity 
for,  '  His  Hieness,  the  Lord  Protector,'  it  is  evident  from  local 
records  that  they  continued  to  reside  in  the  sheriffdom,  and 
perform  all  the  public  duties  usually  imposed  on  the  county 
gentry.  In  the  minute-books  of  the  Justices  of  Peace,  we 
observe  no  difference  in  the  names  of  those  who  sat  on  the 
bench  during  or  after  the  Usurpation — the  apprehension  of 
forfeiture,  no  doubt,  having  a  salutary  effect  in  disposing  all 
concerned  to  give  at  least  the  semblance  of  cordiality  to  a  state 
of  things  which  was  probably  repugnant  to  private  feeling.  At 
this  period,  the  position  of  the  Traquair  family  was  so  singular 
as  to  deserve  a  passing  notice.  By  John,  the  first  earl,  while 
enjoying  prosperity  as  Lord  High  Treasurer,  the  family  posses- 
sions were  considerably  extended,  Traquair  House  was  enlarged, 

1  '  Dans  les  lieux  le  plus  bas  de  la  Province,  particuli&rement  en  ceux  qui  sont  voisins 
de  Selkirk,  le  brebis  y  trouvent  le  pasturage  si  bon  et  si  salutaire  par  dessus  celui  de 
touts  les  autres  pays,  qu'elles  vivent  jusques  4  quinze  ans,  avant  qu'elles  meurent  d'eux 
mesmes  par  maladie.' — Blaew. 


and  the  grounds 
which   they  now 
fortune,  followed 
the   proceedings 
Traquair     gave 
assigns  him  the 
cipled   trimmer, 
conduct  whether 

about  it  ornamented  in  the  formal  style  in 
appear.  This  was  but  a  transient  gleam  of 

by  very  dismal  reverses.  Mixed  up  with 
of  the  court  to  introduce  the  service-book, 
satisfaction  to  neither  party,  and  history 
unenviable  character  of  a  weak  and  unprin- 

It    is,    indeed,    impossible    to    say   from    his 

he  was   most   a   Royalist   or   a   Covenanter, 

Fig.  26. — Traquair  House  ;  front  view. 

for  he  professed  to  be  each  in  turn,  as  best  suited  nis  pur- 
pose. His  last  great  move  happened,  unfortunately  for 
him,  to  be  towards  royalty.  Having,  in  1648,  raised  a  troop 
of  horse  for  the  '  Engagement,'  to  attempt  the  rescue  of 
Charles  I.,  he  was  taken  prisoner  at  the  battle  of  Preston, 
and  afterwards  detained  as  prisoner  in  Warwick  Castle  for  four 
years.  When  set  at  liberty  by  Cromwell,  he  returned  to 
Scotland,  but  in  an  impoverished  condition,  for  his  estate  and 
goods  had  meanwhile  been  sequestrated.  Though  participating 
to  a  certain  extent  in  his  father's  movements,  Lord  Linton  had 


the  address  or  good-fortune  to  save  for  himself  and  his  heirs  at 
least  a  portion  of  the  family  property,  and  was  able  to  keep 
house  at  Traquair,  while  the  earl  was  exposed  to  vicissitudes, 
uncheered  by  public  respect  or  sympathy.  Failing  to  secure 
help  from  his  son,  it  is  mentioned  that  he  sunk  into  a  condition 
so  perfectly  abject  as  to  be  not  above  accepting  an  alms  from 
any  old  friend  who  took  pity  on  his  misfortunes.  But  to  so  low 
a  pitch  as  this,  Lord  Traquair  could  not  have  fallen  till  almost 
the  conclusion  of  his  days,  for,  as  already  stated,  he  appeared  in 
force  at  Peebles,  along  with  the  gentlemen  of  the  county,  in 
1654  ;  and  in  1657,  he  acted  as  a  commissioner  for  the  valuation 
of  property  within  the  shire,  his  name  heading  the  list  of  those 
who  verify  the  revised  roll  of  rental,  on  the  22d  of  August  that 
year ;  *  a  circumstance  which  shews  that  his  lordship  was  then 
under  no  legal  disqualification,  and  that  he  was  still,  at  least 
nominally,  a  proprietor  of  lands  in  the  county.  He  lived  two 
years  after  this  transaction,  and  it  was  now,  perhaps,  that  his 
chief  hardships  were  experienced.  One  writer  says  :  *  '  There  are 
still  some  living  at  Peebles  that  have  seen  him  dine  upon  a  salt 
herring  and  an  onion.'  Broken  in  spirit,  the  earl  died  1659  ;  and 
as  evidencing  the  meanness  of  his  circumstances,  the  annotator 
of  Scott's  Staggering  State  of  Scots  Statesmen  says  that  at  his 
burial  there  was  no  pall,  but  only  a  black  apron  over  the  coffin. 

Of  Lord  Linton,  who  became  second  earl,  it  is  not  easy  to 
present  any  intelligible  account,  for  his  conduct  was  as  incongru- 
ous as  that  of  his  father.  In  him  were  strangely  united  a  ruling 
elder  in  the  kirk  along  with  the  character  of  a  drunkard  and 
swearer ;  affecting  to  be  a  Puritan,  he  married  in  succession  two 
ladies  who  were  Roman  Catholics  ;  and  the  charge  of  unnatural 
behaviour  towards  his  parents  rests  as  a  special  stain  on  his 
memory.  About  the  period  of  his  father's  financial  collapse,  he 
cleverly  drifted  into  the  ranks  and  good  graces  of  the  ultra-Pres- 
byterian or  winning  party.  Of  this,  we  have  some  proof  in  the 

1  County   Documents.      The   signatures  appended   are :    '  Traquaire,    J.    Murray, 
Wm.  Murray,  Jo.  Veitch,  Jo.  Hay.' 
1  A  Journey  through  Scotland,  in  Familiar  Letter*,  &c,  8vo.     London,  1723. 


local  records.  1647. — '  For  the  more  speedy  carrying  out  of  their 
acts,  the  session  resolve  to  elect  Lord  Linton  an  elder,  which  was 
accordingly  done,  his  lordship  promising  before  the  whole  con- 
gregation to  be  faithful  in  the  function.'  1648,  April  26. — '  Lord 
Linton  was  appointed  to  attend  the  ensuing  synod  as  ruling 
elder  from  the  session.' — K.  S.  R,,  Innerleithen.  Considering 
his  lordship's  professions,  it  must  have  caused  some  degree  of 
surprise  as  well  as  horror  when,  in  1649,  he  effected  a  marriage 
with  Lady  Henrietta  Gordon,  a  daughter  of  George,  second 
Marquis  of  Huntly,  who,  in  old  age  and  enfeebled  health,  had 
lately  been  beheaded  at  the  Cross  of  Edinburgh  for  his  attach- 
ment to  Charles  I.  Besides  being  a  daughter  of  this  unpopular 
royalist,  Lady  Henrietta  was  the  relict  of  George,  Lord  Seton, 
eldest  son  of  the  second  Earl  of  Winton,  and  worst  of  all,  she 
was  an  excommunicated  papist.  There  must,  accordingly,  have 
been  a  difficulty  in  getting  the  marriage-ceremony  performed. 
This  duty  was  at  length  undertaken  by  the  minister  of  Dawick. 
Against  law  and  usage,  he  married  the  pair  privately  without 
proclamation  of  bans,  for  which  daring  act  he  was  deposed  and 
excommunicated,  and  his  church  declared  vacant.1  Lord  Linton 
did  not  get  off  unscathed  :  he  was  fined  £$000  Scots,  and  like- 
wise excommunicated  and  imprisoned.2  Recovering  from  these 
penalties,  his  lordship  was  not  deterred  from  committing  a  similar 
error,  as  it  was  thought.  Lady  Linton  lived  only  a  year  after 
her  marriage,  and  died  without  issue.  Thus  set  free,  his  lordship, 
in  1654,  married  for  his  second  wife  Lady  Anne  Seton,  half-sister 
of  his  former  wife's  brother — rather  a  curious  affinity.  Lady 
Anne,  also,  was  a  Roman  Catholic,  but  we  hear  of  no  pro- 
ceedings being  taken  on  that  score.  Dwelling  at  Traquair  House, 
Lord  Linton  maintained  his  conformity  with  the  kirk,  but 
unfortunately  subjected  himself  to  its  censures.  The  Presbytery 
of  Peebles,  having  its  watchful  eye  on  his  lordship,  and  caring 
nothing  for  his  rank,  summoned  him  to  appear  to  answer  for 
certain  irregularities  with  which  he  was  reputed  to  be  chargeable. 

1  Presbytery  Records  ;  Lament's  Diary.  »  Nichol's  Diary. 


1657,  Aug.  9. — 'The  Lord  Lyntoun  (after  many  citations) called, 
compeared,  and  being  charged  by  the  moderator  with  these 
several  miscarriages — viz.,  absenting  himself  from  the  church, 
drinking,  swearing,  &c. — he  took  with  them,  craved  God  mercie, 
and  prayed  for  grace  to  eschew  them  in  time  coming.  Whereupon 
his  lordship  being  removed,  the  Presbytery  resolved  that  the 
moderator  should  give  him  a  grave  rebuke,  and  exhort  him  to 
seek  God,  and  to  forbear  these  evills  in  time  coming,  which  was 
accordingly  done.' — P.  R. 

About  the  time  of  this  pretty  severe  handling,  Lord  Linton 
thought  fit  to  complain  to  the  Presbytery,  '  that  his  father  had 
slandered  him  of  unnatural  dealing  towards  his  parents,'  and  this 
reverend  body,  as  was  customary,  not  being  disinclined  to  legislate 
on  a  family  dispute,  appointed  (Dec.  3,  1657)  '  Mr  James  Smith 
and  John  Hay  to  speak  them  both,  and  report.' — P.  R.  His 
lordship  was  requested  to  give  in  the  particulars  of  which  he  had 
complained,  but  this  he  never  did,  and  there  the  matter  dropped. 
The  last  time  we  hear  of  this  extraordinary  personage,  is  in 
connection  with  a  search  for  papists.  1658,  June  30. — This  day 
the  commander  of  the  troop  lying  in  the  shires  of  Peebles  and 
Selkirk,  desired  information  from  the  justices  of  all  papists  living 
within  the  shire  of  Peebles,  that  he  might  prescribe  ane  order  for 
their  personal  deportment.  The  bench  declared  they  knew  of 
no  papists  in  the  shire  except  those  who  lived  in  Lord  Linton's 
family.  Lord  Linton  himself  declared  that  his  lady  and  three 
women  were  the  only  papists  in  his  house. — J.  P.  R.  Succeeding 
to  the  earldom  of  Traquair  in  1659,  his  lordship  died  in  1666, 
leaving  a  son  to  inherit  his  honours,  whose  education,  as  will 
soon  appear,  gave  a  deep  degree  of  concern  to  the  Privy  Council 
The  only  circumstance  we  can  think  of  as  partly  extenuating 
Lord  Linton's  conduct  towards  his  father  is,  that  he  himself  was 
in  difficulties,  for  the  Traquair  estates  were  greatly  encumbered 
with  debts  incurred  to  pay  fines  and  save  the  family  property 
from  utter  wreck.  Of  this  condition  of  affairs,  some  details  are 
afterwards  presented. 

The    restoration    of    monarchy    in    1660    was    attended    in 


Peeblesshire  with  the  same  feeling  of  relief  from  a  routine  of 
petty  oppression  as  elsewhere,  and  we  now  begin  to  hear  of  a 
resumption  of  those  outdoor  sports  which  had  given  celebrity 
to  the  burgh  upwards  of  two  centuries  previously.  In  the  Council 
Records,  26th  May  1662,  is  the  following  entry  :  *  Ordains 
Thursday  next,  the  29th  of  May,  being  His  Majesty's  happy 
restoration  day,  to  be  observed  and  kept  conform  to  the  act  of 
parliament  in  all  points.'  In  the  same  year,  and  probably  for 
this  joyous  occasion,  the  shaft  of  the  market-cross  was  decorated 
with  a  new  vane,  bearing  the  date  1662  in  pierced  figures,  which 
in  its  altered  condition  it  still  retains. 

In  these  renovations,  and  in  the  affairs  of  the  burgh  generally, 
'  My  Lord  Earl  of  Tweeddale,'  the  great  man  in  the  neighbour- 
hood, with  whom  the  community  exchanged  courtesies,  took 
especial  interest.  From  the  intimacy  of  this  connection,  his  lord- 
ship's arms — embracing  the  goat's  head,  erased,  for  crest — were 
united  with  those  of  the  town,  on  the  silver  cups  run  for  on 
Beltane-day ;  of  the  resumption  of  which  old  festive  gathering, 
the  burgh  books  bear  good  evidence  after  the  Restoration. 

1663,  Feb.  23.  It  is  unanimously  resolved  that  the  town  provide  ane 
silver  cup,  of  the  value  not  exceeding,  with  workmanship,  five  pounds 
sterling,  to  be  run  for ;  also  ane  saddle,  value  twenty  pounds  Scots,  to 
be  run  for  the  morn  after.  Authorises  Thomas  Smyth,  clerk,  to  go  in 
to  Edinburgh  to  bespeak  my  Lord  Tweeddale,  and  to  buy  the  cup  and 
saddle. — 1664,  March  21.  Ordains  the  treasurer  to  cause  make  and  buy 
ane  silver  cup  of  the  value  of  fifty  or  threescore  pounds  Scots,  with  my 
Lord  Tweeddale  and  the  town's  arms  and  the  town's  motto  thereupon  ; 
also  ane  saddle  of  twenty  pounds  Scots  value  ;  the  cup  to  be  run  for  on 
the  first  Thursday  of  May  next,  and  the  saddle  the  morn  after. — 1665, 
March  20.  Authorises  the  treasurer  to  buy  ane  silver  cup  with  my  Lord 
Tweeddale  and  the  town's  arms,  also  ane  saddle,  to  be  run  for  on  the 
Whitehaugh  Moor.  [Similar  entry  in  1666.] — 1672,  March  21.  Ordains 
the  treasurer  to  buy  ane  silver  cup  of  twenty  ounces  weight,  containing 
ane  [Scots]  pint,  with  my  Lord  Tweeddale  and  the  town's  arms ;  also 
ane  saddle  worth  forty  shillings  sterling,  to  be  run  for  upon  Beltane  next, 
upon  Whitehaugh  Moor. — B.  R. 

As  early  as  the  reign  of  Charles  I.,  and  perhaps  earlier,  the 
Royal  Archers  of  Scotland  had  assembled  one  day  in  the  year 


at  Peebles,  to  compete  in  shooting  at  butts  for  a  silver  arrow. 
Associated  with  some  local  usages,  which  possibly  dated  from 
the  ancient  Beltane  festival  of  '  Peebles  to  the  Play/  the  archery 
meetings,  like  other  amusements,  suffered  interruption  during 
the  broils  which  preceded,  and  the  severities  that  accompanied 
the  Usurpation.  They  now,  as  is  observable  from  inscriptions  on 
the  arrow,  were  happily  revived  along  with  the  horse-races  at 
Beltane,  and  furnish  another  evidence  that,  with  still  much 
bigotry  and  a  general  terror  of  witchcraft,  an  air  of  geniality  was 
coming  over  society. 

Less  than  two  months  after  the  Beltane  festival  of  1665,  the 
intelligence  of  a  plague  more  terrible  than  that  of  twenty  years 
previously,  created  excessive  alarm  among  the  inhabitants  of 
Peebles.  This  was  the  great  plague  which  so  disastrously 
affected  London,  and  also  proved  destructive  in  Dublin  ;  but 
whether  from  the  precautions  adopted,  or  other  reasons,  Scotland 
escaped  its  visitation.  The  magistrates  and  Council  of  Peebles 
being  called  together  on  the  24th  of  July,  to  consider  what 
measures  should  be  adopted,  the  following  entry  is  the  result  of 
their  deliberations. 

'  In  obedience  to  ane  act  of  His  Majesty's  Privy  Council,  I2th 
July  instant,  bearing  that  the  sickness  and  plague  in  London 
is  daily  increasing  and  breaking  out  in  several  places  of  the 
kingdom  of  England,  do  therefore,  in  His  Majesty's  name, 
prohibit  and  discharge  the  inhabitants  of  this  burgh  to  trade  or 
to  meet  with  the  inhabitants  or  merchants  of  England  till  the 
1st  of  November  next,  and  ay  and  until  this  restraint  be  taken 
off,  or  to  pass  out  of  this  shire  without  a  testimonial  from  the 
magistrates,  or  return  without  a  testimonial  from  the  sheriff, 
justice  of  peace,  or  magistrates,  that  the  place  where  they 
were  is  free  of  any  suspicion  of  the  plague.  And  that  no 
inhabitants  reset  or  receive  in  lodging  any  strangers  without 
sufficient  testimonials,  under  the  pain  of  losing  their  lives  and 
goods,  conform  to  the  said  act ;  and  ordains  the  inhabitants  to 
be  ready  to  guard  and  watch  the  ports  tour  about,  as  they  shall 
be  guided  by  the  magistrates  and  intimation  thereof.' — Aug.  14. 


'  Ordains  James  Williamson,  treasurer,  to  cause  repair  the  haill 
ports,  and  search  for  the  town's  locks  and  keys  with  all 
expedition.' — B.  R. 

Some  years  before,  and  at  this  period,  the  burgh  added  to  its 
territorial  possessions.  The  first  purchase  was  that  of  certain 
parts  of  the  lands  of  Hundleshope,  adjoining  Caidmuir,  which 
had  formerly  been  a  cause  of  disturbance.  These  were  bought 
in  1655  for  7750  merks ;  each  burgess  on  the  roll  to  pay  for  his 
share  of  the  lands  fifty  pounds  Scots,  in  instalments  extending 
over  two  years. — B.  R.  In  1665,  the  magistrates  and  council 
made  the  purchase  of  Shielgreen,  a  pastoral  farm,  from  the  Earl 
of  Tweeddale  for  eleven  thousand  merks  [£6i  I,  2s.  *$d.  sterling]. 
— B.  R.  This  last  acquisition  indicates  very  significantly  the 
growing  wealth  of  the  community. 

There  are  other  signs  of  progress.  A  drum  is  bought  for 
the  town -crier,  who  has  hitherto  used  'ane  clapper'  in  calling 
attention  to  his  announcements  ;  and  the  wearing  of  bonnets  by 
councillors  and  magistrates  is  thought  to  be  undignified. 

1664,  Oct.  17. — It  is  unanimously  concluded  and  statuted  that  the 
haill  members  of  the  Council  shall  buy  and  wear  hats  on  all  occasions 
when  they  are  called  to  wait  upon  the  magistrates,  and  when  they  come 
to  the  council,  and  they  are  to  provide  themselves  therewith  betwixt 
and  Yule  next,  ilk  person  contravening  under  the  pain  of  6j.  %d.  And 
the  magistrates  are  ordained  to  wear  hats  daily.  At  Council  meetings, 
ilk  member  removing  himself  [or  going  out]  without  leave,  to  pay  twa 
shillings  ;  and  whoever  shall  speak  unspeared  at,  or  who  shall  not  be 
attentive  to  what  shall  be  tabled,  to  submit  himself  to  the  Council's  will. 
— B.  R.  Injunctions  as  to  keeping  the  streets  and  bridges  clean,  and 
preventing  swine  from  rambling  about  the  thoroughfares,  now  become 
conspicuous.  We  have  also  edicts  against  hens  scraping  in  gardens  or 
on  the  thatched  roofs  of  the  houses,  to  prevent  which,  it  is  ordained, 
April  9,  1666,  that  to  one  of  the  feet  of  every  hen  there  shall  be  fixed  a 
clog  of  wood  ;  and  for  ilk  hen  found  unclogged,  its  owner  to  pay 
four  shillings,  one  half  to  go  to  the  officers  for  their  pains. — B.  R. 
Some  advance  in  manners  is  perhaps  indicated  by  an  injunction  to 
attend  the  funerals  of  persons  of  distinction  as  a  public  duty. — 1670, 
Feb.  28.  When  the  magistrates  receive  any  letter  announcing  the  burial 
of  a  person  of  quality,  twenty  of  the  ablest  honest  burgesses,  upon  lawful 
advertisement,  shall  accompany  them  to  the  burial,  ilk  person  so 


advertised  under  the  penalty  of  ane  half-crown ;  all  honest  men  to  be 
advertised  tour  about. — B.  R. 

1674. — There  was  a  great  storm  of  snow,  with  violent  nipping 
cold  frost,  that  lay  from  the  i$th  day  of  January  to  the  i8th  of 
March,  wherein  were  thirteen  drifty  days.  The  most  part  of  the 
country  lost  the  most  part  of  their  sheep,  and  many  of  the  nolt, 
and  many  all  their  sheep.  It  was  universal ;  and  many  people 
were  almost  starved  for  want  of  fuel. — B.  R.  Such  is  the  account 
of  the  celebrated  Thirteen  Drifty  Days,  authenticated  by  John 
M'Ewen,  town-clerk  of  Peebles,  in  1677.  James  Hogg,  who 
gives  a  striking  description  of  the  losses  suffered  from  this 
remarkable  winter-storm,  misstates  the  year  as  1620. 

On  the  24th  of  August  1674,  the  magistrates  and  council  of 
Peebles  endeavoured,  with  praiseworthy  energy,  to  organise  a 
species  of  friendly  society  in  the  burgh,  the  object  specified  being 
to  make  a  provision  for  old  age  and  poverty.  The  association 
was  to  consist  of  all  '  male  servants,'  each  of  whom  is  to  pay 
entry-money  at  '  brotherin/  and  stated  fees  and  fines  afterwards. 
Among  other  rules,  '  it  is  ordained  that  if  any  man  or  lad  in 
going  to  or  returning  from  the  coals  leaves  his  neighbour  by  the 
way,  and  does  not  do  all  in  his  power  to  help  him  [the  roads 
being  bad  and  dangerous  from  robbers],  he  shall  be  fined  ane 
merk  Scots  to  the  box.  Also,  that  every  brother  (being  invited, 
and  obtaining  his  master  and  mistress's  liberty)  who  goes  not  to 
his  brother's  wedding  without  ane  reasonable  excuse,  shall  pay 
into  the  box  ane  merk  Scots. — B.  R. 

The  obligation  to  attend  '  Penny  Weddings,'  as  they  were 
called,  marks  the  progress  of  sentiment  on  the  score  of  festivity ; 
for,  twenty  years  earlier,  as  will  be  remembered,  the  Presbytery 
denounced  '  promiscous  dancing,'  which  was  the  principal  enter- 
tainment at  these  assemblages.  With  any  laxity  as  regards 
horse-racing  and  dancing,  there  was  none  with  respect  to  harass- 
ing papists.  The  Privy  Council  taking  alarm  lest  the  Dowager 
Lady  Traquair  should  bring  up  her  elder  son,  William,  in  her  own 
religious  belief,  thought  it  was  bound  to  interfere.  Accordingly, 
in  1672,  when  the  youthful  earl  had  reached  fifteen  years  of 


age,  the  Countess  of  Traquair  was  requested  to  attend  at 
Holyrood  House,  and  bring  her  son  with  her,  which  summons 
she  chose  to  neglect,  and  forthwith  a  warrant  was  issued  to 
messengers-at-arms  to  bring  her  before  the  Council,  along  with 
her  son.  Both  were  produced  within  a  week. — Feb.  8.  Com- 
peared  the  Countess  of  Traquair,  with  her  son  the  earl,  who  is 
ordered  to  be  consigned  to  the  care  of  the  Professor  of  Divinity 
in  the  university  of  Glasgow,  to  be  educated  in  the  reformed 
religion,  at  sight  of  the  Archbishop  of  Glasgow.  No  popish 
servants  to  be  allowed  to  attend  him. — P.  C.  R,  By  some  means, 
the  order  was  evaded,  and  the  case  again  comes  up  nearly  two 
years  later. — 1673,  Dec.  3.  At  Holyrood  House  the  Countess  of 
Traquair  compeared  to  exhibit  her  son  the  earl,  in  order  to  be 
educated  in  the  reformed  religion.  The  Council  resolve  he  shall 
be  sent  to  a  good  school,  with  a  pedagogue  and  servants  as  the 
Archbishop  of  Glasgow  should  name ;  the  Earl  of  Galloway  to 
defray  charges.  A  letter  to  be  sent  to  the  archbishop,  and  that 
the  lady  in  the  meantime  keep  the  earl  her  son  for  ten  or  twelve 
days. — P.  C.  R.  How  the  matter  terminated,  does  not  appear. 
The  earl  dying  unmarried,  was  succeeded  by  Charles,  his  brother, 
through  whom,  as  will  be  narrated  in  its  proper  place,  Roman 
Catholicism  was  confirmed  in  the  family,  notwithstanding  all 
efforts  to  the  contrary. 

Scotland  was  now  in  the  heat  of  the  distractions  which  arose 
from  the  introduction  of  a  modified  episcopacy  ;  the  popular 
exasperation  being  in  no  small  degree  increased  by  a  test  or 
oath  of  office,  which  was  enforced  under  very  severe  penalties.1 

1  The  following  was  the  Test  or  Declaration  appointed  by  Act  5  of  the  Second 
Session  of  Parliament,  1662,  to  be  subscribed  by  all  persons  in  public  trust : 

'  I,  —  — ,  do  sincerely  affirm  and  declare,  That  I  judge  it  unlawful  to  Subjects, 
upon  Pretext  of  Reformation,  or  any  other  Pretext  whatsomever,  to  enter  into  Leagues 
and  Covenants,  or  to  take  up  Arms  against  the  King,  or  those  commissioned  by  him  ; 
and  that  all  those  Gatherings,  Convocations,  Petitions,  Protestations,  and  erecting  or 
keeping  of  Council-tables  that  were  used  in  the  beginning,  and  for  the  carrying  on  of 
the  late  Troubles,  were  unlawful  and  seditious  :  And  particularly,  that  these  Oaths, 
whereof  the  one  was  commonly  called  the  National  Covenant  (as  it  was  sworn  and 
explained  in  the  year  1638,  and  thereafter),  and  the  other,  entituled  A  Solemn  League 
and  Covenant,  were  and  are  in  themselves  unlawful  Oaths,  and  were  taken  by,  and 
imposed  upon  the  subjects  of  this  Kingdom,  against  the  fundamental  Laws  and  Liberties 


Through  the  influence  of  the  Earl  of  Tweeddale  and  other  pro- 
prietors, Peeblesshire,  as  in  preceding  times,  remained  externally 
submissive,  but  unquestionably  there  was  discontent  almost 
amounting  to  rebellion  in  the  district ;  the  parishes  bordering  on 
Clydesdale  and  Dumfriesshire  being  particularly  disaffected.  We 
obtain  glimpses  of  the  state  of  affairs  from  different  public  records. 
In  December  1661,  the  Presbytery  of  Peebles  was  charged  by  the 
Privy  Council  not  to  admit  Mr  John  Hay,  student  of  divinity, 
to  be  minister  of  Manor,  until  the  bishops  were  restored  to  their 
privileges.  The  members  having  disobeyed  this  injunction 
appeared  by  summons  before  the  Council,  January  2,  1662,  and 
were  assoilzied  on  promise  of  obedience. — P.  C.  R. 

In  the  long  list  of  noblemen,  gentlemen,  burgesses,  and  others 
throughout  Scotland,  who  were  arbitrarily  fined  by  the  Act  1662 
— usually  called  Middleton's  Act — for  having  complied  with 
Cromwell's  usurpation,  are  found  only  seven  persons  connected 
with  Peeblesshire  ;  though  how  they  were  worse  in  this  respect 
than  the  whole  county,  it  is  not  easy  to  understand.  The  names, 
with  the  sums  in  Scots  money  exacted,  are  as  follows  : 

The  Laird  of  Polmood,            ....  ;£6oo 

William  Russel  of  Slipperfield,       .            .             .  600 

Douglas  of  Linton,          .             .             .             .  360 

Cranston  of  Glen,     ....  800 

John  Horsburgh,  bailie  of  Peebles,      .             .             .  360 

Mr  Andrew  Hay,  brother  to  Mr  John  Hay  of  Hayston,  600 

Joseph  Learmont,             ....  1200 

As  regards  the  last-named  person,  there  has  seemingly  been 
an  inaccuracy  in  including  his  name  in  the  list  for  Peeblesshire. 
By  historians  he  is  designated  '  Major  Joseph  Learmont  of 
Newholme,'  a  property  which  is  said  to  be  'situated  partly 
within  the  shire  of  Lanark,  and  partly  in  Peeblesshire.'  We 
find,  on  inquiry,  that  Newholme — at  least  in  the  present  day — is 
confined  entirely  to  Lanarkshire,  and  accordingly,  it  is  to  be  feared, 

of  the  same  ;  and  that  there  lieth  no  obligation  upon  me  or  any  of  the  Subjects,  from 
the  said  Oaths,  or  either  of  them,  to  endeavour  any  Change  or  Alteration  of  the  Govern- 
ment either  in  Church  or  State,  as  'tis  now  established  by  the  Laws  of  the  Kingdom.' 


that  the  county  of  Peebles  can  sustain  no  claim  to  this  valiant 
covenanting  hero ;  yet,  as  residing  near  Tweeddale,  and  at 
times  drawing  recruits  from  its  western  parishes  to  swell  the  ranks 
of  the  insurgents,  Learmont  of  Newholme  merits  a  passing  word 
in  our  county  history.  Skilful  and  resolute  as  a  soldier,  and  of 
mature  years,  he  was  one  of  the  more  valued  leaders  of  the 
insurrection,  and  against  great  odds  dared  more  than  once  to 
confront  the  royal  forces.  At  the  battle  of  Rullion  Green,  on 
the  skirts  of  the  Pentland  Hills,  Nov.  28,  1666,  he  led  the  princi- 
pal attack  ;  in  which  being  unsuccessful,  a  rout  ensued,  but  he 
managed  to  escape,  along  with  William  Veitch,  a  preacher,  who 
afterwards  wrote  an  account  of  the  affair,  and  lived  to  be  minister 
of  Peebles.  On  the  day  after  the  battle,  the  horse  and  foot  of 
the  county  were  ordered  '  to  stay  at  Linton  Bridge  till  Saturday 
next.' — P.  C.  R.  This  was  probably  with  a  view  to  guarding  the 

1668,  Sept.  3. — Commissions  issued  for  command  of  forces  in 
Peeblesshire  :  James  Murray  of  Skirling  to  be  cornet ;  Archibald 
Murray  of  Blackbarony,  lieutenant-colonel  ;  John  Murray  of 
Cardon,  younger,  ensign  ;  William  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk, 
captain  ;  James  Naesmyth  of  Posso,  captain  ;  George  Brown  of 
Scotstown,  lieutenant. — P.  C.  R. 

1670. — Mr  Robert  Lighten,  bishop  of  Dumblane,  is  set  over 
Glasgow  diocese  ;  he  comes  to  Glasgow,  keeps  a  synod  at 
Peebles,  and  another  at  Glasgow,  the  said  month. — Law's 
Memorials.  This  was  the  celebrated  Archbishop  Leighton,  who 
stands  out  so  conspicuously  for  a  gentle  pious  spirit  in  an  age  of 
religious  prejudice  and  intolerance.  He  began  life  as  the  minister 
of  Newbattle,  was  afterwards  elected  Principal  of  the  University 
of  Edinburgh,  and  at  the  introduction  of  episcopacy  was  nomi- 
nated to  the  bishopric  of  Dumblane.  In  this  as  well  as  in  the 
higher  office  of  Archbishop  of  Glasgow,  Leighton  conducted 
himself  with  a  degree  of  moderation  which  gained  universal 
esteem.  Disliking  the  violent  measures  adopted  by  government, 
and  unable  by  remonstrance  or  persuasion  to  soften  asperities  on 
either  side,  he  resigned  his  archbishopric  in  1673,  and  retired  to 


England,  where  he  spent  his  concluding  years  in  writing  a 
number  of  theological  treatises,  which  have  been  admired  for 
their  lofty  and  evangelical  spirit.  Leighton  died  in  London  in 
1684,  leaving  a  character  for  profound  learning,  engaging 
manners,  and  cheerfulness  of  disposition.  Throughout  its  whole 
history,  Peebles  has  been  connected  with,  or  visited  by,  no 
greater  or  more  estimable  man  than  this.1 

If  Leighton,  while  archbishop  of  Glasgow,  happened  to  come 
into  collision  with  the  kirk-sessions  within  his  extensive  diocese, 
he  would  not  have  been  without  excuse  for  relinquishing  office. 
Apparently  unmodified  by  any  incidents  springing  out  of  the 
restoration,  these  minor  ecclesiastical  bodies,  composed  of  the 
minister  and  lay-elders  of  a  parish,  continued  to  interfere  as 
formerly  in  matters,  which,  if  worthy  of  notice  at  all,  belonged 
properly  to  the  civil  magistrate.  A  few  examples  may  be 

1674,  July.  A  drove  of  nowt  came  through  the  town  between 
sermons,  and  the  drovers  not  coming  to  church  in  the  afternoon,  were 
given  to  the  magistrates  to  be  punished  for  profanation. — 1675,  Dec.  17. 
A  bill  given  in  to  the  session  by  Margaret  Stevenson,  spouse  of  James 
Haddon,  one  of  the  elders,  against  John  Mitchell,  a  travelling  man,  who, 
being  several  days  in  the  town  seeking  charity,  had  slandered  her  for  a 
witch.  John  denied  having  done  so;  but  it  being  proved  against  him, 
he  is  condemned  to  stand  upon  the  cross  with  a  paper  on  his  breast* 
declaring  his  faults;  thereafter  to  be  dismissed  the  town  by  tuck  of 

1  Dr  Gilbert  Burner,  who  was  intimately  acquainted  with  Leighton,  makes  some 
interesting  observations  on  his  life  and  character :  '  He  had  gathered  a  well-chosen 
library  of  curious  as  well  as  useful  books,  which  he  left  to  the  diocese  of  Dumblane 
for  the  use  of  the  clergy  there,  that  country  being  ill  provided  with  books.  He 
retained  still  a  peculiar  inclination  to  Scotland ;  and  if  he  had  seen  any  prospect 
of  doing  good  there,  he  would  have  gone  and  lived  and  died  among  them.  There 
were  two  remarkable  circumstances  in  his  death.  He  used  often  to  say,  that  if 
he  were  to  choose  a  place  to  die  in,  it  should  be  an  inn ;  it  looking  like  a  pilgrim's 
going  home,  to  whom  this  world  was  all  as  an  inn,  and  who  was  weary  of  the  noise 
and  confusion  of  it  And  he  obtained  what  he  desired,  for  he  died  at  the  Bell  Inn  in 
Warwick  Lane.  Another  circumstance  was,  that  while  he  was  a  bishop  in  Scotland, 
he  took  what  his  tenants  were  pleased  to  pay  him.  So  that  there  was  a  great  arrear 
due,  which  was  raised  very  slowly  by  one  whom  he  left  in  trust  with  his  affairs  there. 
And  the  last  payment  that  he  could  expect  from  thence  was  returned  up  to  him  about 
six  weeks  before  his  death.  So  that  his  provision  and  journey  failed  both  at  once.  — 
History  of  My  Own  Times. 



drum,  and  discharged  never  to  be  found  within  the  burgh  under  penalty 
of  being  scourged. — Janet  Jenkinson  having  slandered  the  same  woman, 
Margaret  Stevenson,  by  saying  she  had  witched  James  Simson's  cows, 
and  caused  them  to  give  red  blood  for  milk,  is  ordered  to  be  rebuked. — 
1677,  Jan.  William  Lang,  town-piper,  to  be  rebuked  for  playing  at 
unseasonable  hours,  and  is  discharged  to  play  after  8  o'clock,  under  a 
penalty  of  forty  shillings  Scots. — 1678.  Andrew  Scott  accused  of 
selling  his  wife  for  ^40  Scots  to  John  Wood,  declaring  that  she  was 
cheap  at  the  money.  Excuses  himself  by  saying  he  was  in  drink,  but  is 
ordered  to  confess  publicly. — K.  S.  R.,  Peebles. 

When  the  risings  drew  to  a  head  in  the  west,  the  commis- 
sioners of  militia  in  Peeblesshire  were  ordered  (Feb.  18,  1677)  'to 
call  together  the  regiment  and  troop  of  horse,  armed  and  pro- 
visioned for  twenty  days ;  and  to  march  from  the  appointed 
rendezvous  to  Glasgow,  there  to  abide  orders  of  the  committee 
of  council  and  his  Majesty's  general.' — P.  C.  R. 

Dr  Pennecuik,  who  lived  through  this  troublous  period,  and 
acted  as  physician  in  the  militia  raised  to  suppress  the  insurrec- 
tion, might  have  afforded  us  a  somewhat  more  satisfactory 
account  of  public  feeling  than  that  which  is  contained  in  his  brief 
allusion  to  the  subject.  The  records  of  the  Presbytery  and  kirk- 
sessions  lead  us  to  think  that  besides  being  brief,  the  doctor  has 
the  misfortune  to  be  not  very  accurate. — 1677.  '  No  public  sermon 
from  April  22  till  May  5,  soldiers  being  sent  to  apprehend  the 
minister,  but  he  receiving  notification  of  their  design,  went  away 
and  retired.' — May  1 3.  '  The  minister  adventured  to  preach, 
having  watchers.' — K.  S.  R.,  Drummelzier. — 1677,  Dec.  2.  No 
session  kept,  by  reason  of  the  elders  being  all  at  conventicles. — 
K.  S.  R.,  Tiaeedsmuir .  Similar  entries  in  the  books  of  this  parish 
for  several  years,  and  frequent  notices  of  irregular  baptisms  and 
marriages.  One  of  these  notices  (Nov.  23,  1679)  purports  to  be 
a  '  memorandum  of  those  who  baptised  their  children  disorderly 
at  house  or  field  conventicles  ; '  such  meetings  usually  taking 
place  in  remote  parts  among  the  hills  near  the  head  of  the  Core, 
the  Fruid,  and  the  Talla.  Other  two  entries  are  equally  illus- 
trative of  the  state  of  affairs. — 1679,  June  i  (Drumclog  day)  till 
July  20.  '  There  was  no  sermon,  owing  to  the  rebellion  in  the 


west;  the  ministers  not  daring  to  stay  at  their  charges,  on 
account  of  the  rebels  being  so  cruel  to  them.' — 1681,  Nov.  20. 
1  No  sermon,  the  minister  being  at  Glasgow  taking  the  test.' 
— K.  S.  R.,  Tweedsmuir. 

As  regards  the  battle  of  Bothwell  Bridge,  June  22,  1679,  we 
know  from  credible  authority,  that  instead  of  twelve  persons,  as 
stated  by  Pennecuik,  the  county  of  Peebles  contributed  a  con- 
siderable body  of  horse  and  foot  to  the  rebel  forces  in  that 
memorable  struggle.  'Afternoon,  Major  Learmonth  came  in 
with  a  considerable  body  of  horse  and  foot  from  Tweeddale  that 
night,  where  was  a  council  called  at  the  Hags,  the  officers 
meeting  in  one  room,  and  the  ministers  in  another.' l  We  further 
learn,  from  the  same  and  other  authorities,  that  Learmont  took 
part  in  the  battle,  having,  along  with  Robert  Hamilton,  led  the 
desperate  charge  on  the  occasion.8 

The  ferment  in  the  county  is  in  some  measure  indicated  by 
entries  in  the  books  of  the  Presbytery  and  Privy  Council — 

1680,  April  7. — This  day,  the  Presbytery  taking  to  their  consideration 
the  frequent  and  rebellious  meetings  there  are  among  them,  .where 
persons  who  have  been  intercomuned  since  the  rebellion  in  the  year 
1665,  now  go  publicly  to  several  persons'  houses,  and  tak  upon  them  to 
preach  in  the  doors  and  entries  of  the  houses  where  they  are  resett,  at 
all  which  meetings  there  are  several  hundreds  without  doors,  who  either 
have  been  at  Bothwell  Bridge  themselves,  or  frequent  the  company  of 
such ;  and  thir  meetings  being  now  a  new-kindled  fyre  in  this  place  of 
the  kingdom,  where  never  any  rebellious  meeting  of  this  nature  formerlie 
was,  they  humblie  crave  advice  from  the  archbishop  and  synod  what  to 

1  Russell's  Account  of  the  Murder  of  Archbishop  Sharpe,  appended  to  Kirkton's 
History  of  the  Church  of  Scotland,  edited  by  Charles  Kirkpatrick  Sharpe,  p.  460. 

*  A  variety  of  particulars  concerning  Learmont  will  be  found  in  Wodrow's  History 
of  the  Sufferings  of  the  Church  of  Scotland,  in  M  'Crie's  Life  of  Veitch,  and  in  Law's 
Memorials.  Law  mentions  that  after  Bothwell  Bridge,  this  indomitable  old  soldier 
hid  himself  in  a  vault  underground,  near  his  own  house.  The  vault  had  its  entry  in 
his  house,  and  was  so  artfully  closed  with  a  stone,  that  none  would  have  suspected 
there  was  such  a  place  of  concealment.  Here,  on  occasions  of  alarm,  he  took  refuge, 
and  thus  kept  himself  safe  for  several  years.  He  was  at  length  discovered,  tried,  and 
ordered  for  execution,  '  but  through  interest  made  for  him,  the  sentence  was  commuted 
into  imprisonment  in  the  Bass.' — Law,  p.  217.  'He  survived  the  Revolution;  and 
soon  after  that  happy  event,  died  in  his  own  house  of  Newholme  in  the  eighty-eighth 
years  of  his  age.' — Wodrow,  ii.  p.  262. 


do  in  such  cases. — P.  jR.     The  archbishop,  by  a  letter,  appointed  a 
synodal  meeting  of  the  whole  diocese  of  Glasgow  to  consider  the  subject. 

—p.  je. 

Dec.  1 6. — Thomas  Scott  of  Whitslaid  compeared  before  the  Privy 
Council  to  answer  the  charge  of  not  having  come  out  against  the 
rebels,  as  he  was  bound  to  do  by  the  king's  proclamations;  he  shews 
that  he  was  absent  from  the  kingdom  at  the  time,  and  is  assoilzied. — 
P.  C.  jR. 

Mr  David  Thomson,  minister  of  Manor,  having  incurred 
popular  resentment,  his  dwelling  and  person  were  attacked,  and 
his  property  unscrupulously  carried  off  by  a  party  in  the  Cove- 
nanting interest.  The  following  account  of  the  affair,  in  the  books 
of  the  Privy  Council,  has  escaped  the  vigilance  of  Wodrow. 

1 68 1,  July  6. — 'Whereas  all  heritors  and  parishioners  are  in 
terms  of  law  bound  to  protect  authorised  ministers  from  assault 
and  affront,  yet  true  it  is  that  on  the  9th  of  September  1680,  a 
number  of  armed  men  at  night  did  violently  intrude  on  the 
house  of  Mr  David  Thomson,  minister  at  Manor,  and  did  fall 
upon,  beat,  and  wound  him  in  his  head  and  other  parts  of  his 
body,  so  that  he  fell  down  as  dead,  but  with  strength  to  call  for 
one  to  panse1  his  wounds,  the  saids  persons  said  they  would 
panse  him  by  giving  him  the  crosse  stroak,  adding  that  if  all  the 
curats  and  oppressors  of  Christ's  cause  had  the  stroak  it  would 
be  well  for  the  kirk  of  Scotland;  and  the  said  persons  did  not 
sist  here  only,  but  having  time  and  opportunity,  did  plunder  his 
house,  and  took  away  his  horses,  amounting  all  to  a  considerable 
value.' 2  The  heritors,  who  are  supposed  to  have  heard  of  the 
outrage,  having  failed  to  pursue  and  apprehend  the  persons 
implicated,  ought  to  make  'payment  of  such  soume  of  money 
as  the  Council  shall  think  fit  to  modify  for  reparation  to  the 
said  minister.'  Those  charged  are  'James  Naesmyth  of  Posso, 

1  Panser  (French),  to  dress  wounds.  See  Jameson.  The  word  panse,  at  one  time 
employed  in  colloquial  Scotch,  is  now  disused. 

1  It  would  appear  that  wandering  bands  of  insurgents  did  not  scruple  to  commit 
outrages  of  this  kind.  Speaking  of  those  taken  at  Bothwell  Bridge,  Law  says,  '  These 
people,  while  they  were  agathering,  ranged  through  all  the  country  and  citys  they 
could  come  at,  and  took  away  all  the  arms,  gunns,  and  swords  they  could,  and  best 
horse,  without  recompense.' — Memorials,  p.  151. 


George  Baylly  of  Manorhall,  James  Scott  of  Hundleshop,  Mr 
Hugh  Gray,  portioner  of  Woodhouse,  John  and  Thomas  Inglis 
of  Manorhead,  David  Murray  of  Glenrath,  Jean  Baylly,  heretrix, 
there,  Robert  Scott  of  Glack,  Alexander  Patterson  of  Caverhill, 
William  Burnet  of  Barnes,  and  Jean  Paterson,  relict  of  the  Laird 
of  Woodhouse.  It  being  proved  as  libelled,  that  the  defenders 
did  not  pursue  and  apprehend  the  rebels,  the  Council  decerns 
that  they  shall  pay  'the  soume  of  one  thousand  merks  Scots, 
with  relief  against  each  other  and  their  tenants  for  the  amount ; 
payment  to  be  lodged  with  His  Majesty's  cash-keeper.'  The 
fine  being  paid,  is  ordered  to  be  given  to  Mr  David  Thomson, 
minister,  for  repairing  to  him  the  losses  and  damages  sustained 
from  the  rebels. — P.  C.  R. 

In  August  1 68 1,  parliament  passed  an  act,  enforcing  on  all 
persons  in  public  trust  the  obligation  to  take  an  oath  or  test 
of  a  considerably  more  comprehensive  nature  than  that  which 
had  been  imposed  in  1662.  This  fresh  demand  brought  the 
loyalty  of  the  magistrates  and  council  of  Peebles,  also  of  the 
Laird  of  Stanhope,  under  challenge. 

1 68 1,  Nov.  24. — Petition  presented  to  the  Privy  Council  by 
William  Plenderleath,  provost,  John  Hope,  bailie,  and  John 
Govan,  treasurer,  of  the  burgh  of  Peebles,  for  themselves  and 
remaining  magistrates  and  councillors — '  Showing  that  the  peti- 
tioners being  desirous  to  take  the  test,  were  always  willing,  But 
the  toune  being  very  inconsiderable,  and  the  petitioners  very 
illiterate  and  ignorant,  and  being  in  a  remote  place,  where  they 
could  get  no  person  to  informe  them  of  the  difference  betwixt 
the  act  of  parliament  and  the  act  of  Councill,  and  not  having  the 
act  of  parliament  in  all  the  counterey,  nor  yet  the  Confession  of 
faith  to  which  it  related,  the  petitioners  humbly  desire  to  have  a 
time  to  advise  as  concerning  the  test.  But  to  the  end  their  toune 
cannot  be  without  magistracie  to  serve  the  king,  as  in  other 
places,  they  did  at  the  ordinar  dyet,  as  formerly,  choice  magis- 
trats  and  take  the  declaration,  thinking  that  the  first  of  January 
was  sufficient  to  take  the  test.  But  as  soon  as  the  petitioners 
understood  the  act  of  parliament,  they  were,  and  are  heartily 


willing  to  take  the  test  when  and  where  his  Royal  Highnes  and 
the  Councill  pleases  ;  having  been  always  very  loyall  and  ready 
to  serve  their  king  upon  all  occasions,  amongst  other  instances 
their  care  and  diligence  in  the  late  rebellion  [battle  of  Bothwell 
Bridge]  was  taken  notice  of  by  the  Councill,  who  did  the 
petitioners  the  honour  as  to  return  them  their  particular  thanks 
therefor.  And  humbly  supplicating  that  the  Councill  would  allow 
the  said  petitioners  in  toune  to  take  the  test  in  the  presence  of 
any  one  of  their  number,  and  authorise  them  to  see  the  other 
magistrats,  councillors,  and  clerk  of  the  said  burgh,  take  and 
sign  the  same  betwixt  and  a  certain  day.  His  Royal  Highnes, 
his  Majesties  High  Commissioner,  and  Lords  of  his  Majesties 
Privy  Council,  having  heard  and  considered  the  foresaid  petition, 
and  the  said  provost,  baylles,  and  theasurar  of  the  said  burgh  of 
Peebles,  petitioners — having  taken  and  signed  the  test  before  one 
of  the  Councill  competent  to  that  effect,  Doe,  hereby,  authorise 
and  commission  them  to  administer  the  said  test  to  the  remaining 
magistrats,  councillors,  and  clerk  of  the  said  burgh,  and  to  see 
them  take  and  sign  the  same,  and  appoints  them  to  report  and 
account  thereof  to  the  Councill  betwixt  and  the  third  Thursday  of 
December  next.' — P.  C.  R. 

1682,  Feb.  23. — Petition  of  Sir  William  Murray  of  Stanhope, 
shewing  that  his  predecessors  had  a  right  to  the  baillerie  of 
Stobo  from  the  Archbishops  of  Glasgow,  it  being  part  of  their 
regality,  and  which  the  petitioner  stands  infeft  upon — that  he  has 
ever  been  ready  to  support  the  government,  but  that  being 
prevented  by  indisposition  and  the  stormie  season  in  this  remote 
part  of  the  country,  it  was  impossible  for  him  to  come  and  take 
the  test ;  humbly  supplicates  to  be  allowed  to  take  and  sign  the 
test  before  any  person  the  Council  may  appoint.  'Warrant 
granted  to  the  Lord  Primate  to  administer  the  test  to  the 
supplicant ;  and  which  test  he  hath  accordingly  taken  and 
signed.'— P.  C.  R. 

Amidst  concern  respecting  public  affairs,  the  authorities  of 
Peebles  are  annoyed  on  account  of  a  civic  rebellion  about  some 
petty  rights  of  common. 


1682,  March  23. — The  complaint  of  William  Plenderleath, 
provost,  and  John  Hope  and  John  Gray,  bailies,  on  their  own 
behalf  and  that  of  the  council,  respecting  a  riot  which  took  place 
in  the  burgh  on  the  I3th  of  February  preceding,  makes  mention 
that 4  it  was  advantageous  for  the  common  good  of  the  burgh  to 
sett  after  a  publick  roup  a  little  piece  of  the  commontie  and  grasse 
lying  about  the  wall  of  the  toune,  Becaus  whilst  it  was  a  com- 
montie it  was  a  pretext  for  incomers  to  the  said  burgh  and  the 
poor  people  to  eat  up  their  neighbours  corne.'  The  letting  of  this 
small  piece  of  common  ground  led  to  a  grievous  and  illegal 
tumult,  for  whereas  a  large  number  of  persons  came  to  the 
tolbooth,  where  the  magistrates  were  sitting  administering  justice, 
and  there  'declaimed  against  the  proceedings  of  court  and 
magistrats  and  council  for  taking  of  the  said  most  loyal  and 
advantageous  course,  warning  the  provost  if  he  did  so  he  should 
be  sticked,  as  Provost  Dickison  was,  whereupon  the  complainers 
committed  only  two  of  them — viz.,  William  Porteous  and 
Andrew  Halden,  the  ringleaders  of  the  said  tumult,  to  abide 
still  in  the  tolbooth  in  prison,  to  answer  for  the  said  cryme.  And 
notwithstanding  hereof,  Thomas  King,  James  Waldie,  John 
Tweeddale,  elder,  John  Tweeddale,  junior,  James  Stevenson, 
Thomas  Stoddart,  and  John  Tweedie,  burgeses  and  inhabitants 
of  the  said  burgh,  did  by  force  carry  away  them  out  of  prison. 
Likeas,  upon  the  second  day  of  March  thereafter,  the  saids 
persons  did  by  themselves  and  others^  convocat  several  women, 
and  particularly  Marion  Bennet,  Marion  Grieve,  Margaret 
Wilson,  Isobell  Wilson,  Isobell  Robertson,  Janet  Eumond, 
Isobell  Eumond,  and  Helen  Steill,  who  did  in  a  most  tumultuary 
and  irregular  way  take  out  of  prison  the  persons  of  Thomas 
Stoddart,  Alexander  Jenkison,  John  Tweedie,  Thomas  King, 
William  Porteous,  Andrew  Halden,  James  Waldie,  and  William 
Leggat,  and  went  to  the  croce  of  Peebles  with  them,  and  there 
drank  their  good  health,  as  protectors  of  the  liberties  of  the  poore, 
and  the  confusion  of  the  magistrats  and  council,  and  took 
up  with  them  [on  the  platform  of  the  cross]  stones  to  stone  to 
death  such  as  should  oppose  them  ;  and  thereafter,  they  being 


about  three  hundred  persons,  divided  themselves  in  several 
companies,  and  every  company  convoyed  home  a  person,  and 
drank  their  good  health,  to  the  great  astonishment  of  the  honest 
and  well-meaning  people.'  The  principal  rioters  having  com- 
peared,  after  evidence  led,  the  Lords  find  guilty  as  libelled 
William  Porteous,  Andrew  Halden,  Thomas  Stoddart,  John 
Tweedie,  and  Alexander  Jenkison,  and  '  ordain  them  to  be 
committed  to  the  tolbooth  of  Edinburgh,  there  to  remain  in 
prison  until  further  orders  ;  and  declare  them  to  have  lost  the 
benefit  of  their  burgisship  in  the  said  burgh,  and  appoints  the 
magistrats  of  the  said  burgh  to  call  for  and  destroy  their  burges- 
tickets.  And  remits  to  the  magistrats  to  convene  before  them 
the  haill  rest  of  the  inhabitants  that  were  accessory  to  the 
tumult  and  ryot  libelled,  and  to  proceed  against  them  therefore 
in  fyning,  imprisonment,  and  ryveing  their  burges-tickets  as 
they  shall  find  cause.' 

Consigned  to  the  tolbooth  of  Edinburgh,  the  delinquents,  a 
few  days  afterwards,  seemingly  in  deep  mortification,  petition 
the  Privy  Council  to  let  them  out,  on  the  ground  that  '  they  are 
poore  ignorant  men,  who  did  not  think  they  could  have  given 
any  offence  to  the  magistrates  of  Peebles  ;  are  willing  to  undergo 
any  censure  the  Council  thinks  fit ;  but  some  of  them  being 
valetudinary  persons,  and  not  able  to  undergo  the  restraint  of  a 
prison  without  impairing  their  health,  and  others  having  their 
livelyhood  by  labouring,  and  this  being  the  only  time  that  they 
ought  to  go  about  the  tilling  and  sawing  of  the  ground,  humbly 
supplicat  to  be  set  at  liberty.'  On  the  3ist  of  March,  the  Lords 
granted  warrant  to  liberate  them  upon  their  giving  caution  for 
future  good-behaviour,  but  '  ilk  ane  of  them  is  to  appear  before 
the  Council  when  called  on  under  penalty  of  five  hundred  merks 
Scots.'  They  are  also  ordered  to  go  before  the  magistrates  and 
Council  of  Peebles  on  Wednesday  the  twelfth  of  April,  to 
acknowledge  their  fault,  and  '  crave  pardon  of  the  same  under 
the  foresaid  penalty.' 

In  May  1684,  a  royal  proclamation  was  issued  denouncing 
those  charged  with  rebellion,  who  had  fled  from  justice,  but 


declaring  that  if  they  should  present  themselves  '  betwixt  and 
the  first  of  August  next  ensuing,'  and  shew  to  any  justices  of 
peace  that  'they  had  taken  the  bond  or  test  in  due  time/ 
they  would  be  'relaxed  gratis.'  The  proclamation  terminates 
with  a  long  roll  of  fugitives,  among  whom  the  following  is  the 
list  belonging  to  Peeblesshire,  all  seemingly  in  humble  life : 

William  Forbes,  servant  to  Thomas  Weir  in  Sclathole. 

Thomas  Weir,  merchant  traveller. 

James  Mitchell,  cooper  in  Linton. 

Adam  Hunter  in  Fingland. 

James  Ramage  in  Skirlin. 

James  Richardson,  tailor  in  Logan. 

William  Porteous,  in  Earlshaugh. 

James  Welsh  in  Fingland. 

George  Hunter  in  Corehead. 

John  Welsh  in  Minzien. 

James  Nicol,  vagabond  in  the  said  shire. 

A  committee  of  the  Privy  Council  sitting  at  Edinburgh,  June 
6,  1684,  having  been  informed  that  two  field  conventicles  had 
been  held  within  the  borders  of  Peeblesshire,  directed  a  letter  to 
be  sent  to  '  Sir  Archibald  Murray  of  Blackbarony,  Sir  William 
Murray  of  Stanhope,  and  John  Veitch  of  Dawick,'  as  follows 
(original  spelling  preserved) : 

'  GENTLEMEN — The  Lords  of  the  Comittee  of  Councill  for  publict 
affairs  Being  certainly  informed  that  ther  was  a  field  Conventicle  keept 
upon  Sunday  the  ffirst  of  June  instant  at  Cairnehill,  and  another  upon 
the  Eight  of  the  said  month  at  Colstouneslope  in  Peebles  shyre,  where 
ther  wer  severall  men  in  armes  and  diverss  women  present,  which  they 
think  very  strange,  either  as  to  your  suffering  those  Conventicles  to  have 
been  keept,  or  not  dissipateing  them,  or  giving  advertisement  thereof,  as 
was  appointed  by  the  CouncilPs  proclamatione  in  Jully  1682,  upon  such 
ane  occasione  in  your  shyre.  And  therefore  wee  requyre  yow  ime- 
diately  to  make  dilligent  search  after  the  persones  who  wer  the  preachers, 
and  upon  whose  ground  the  same  wer  keept.  And  to  return  us  a  speedy 
account  thereof.  And  to  secure  such  of  them  as  yow  find  guilty.  And 
also  requyre  yow  to  advertise  that  party  of  His  Majestie's  forces  at 
Bogehall  to  prosecute  those  persones  guilty  of  those  Conventicles.  And 
to  acquaint  us  of  ther  dilligence  from  tyme  to  tyme,  as  they  will  be 


answearable.  And  if  any  such  meeting  fall  out  hereafter,  yow  are  to 
give  advertisement  thereof  to  the  sheriff  of  the  shyre,  or  Commander  of 
the  fforces  nearest  to  yow.  And  to  certifie  the  said  sheriff  that  if  he  do 
not  his  duty,  he  will  be  looked  upon  as  disaffected  to  his  Majestie's 
government,  and  proceeded  against  accordingly.  Wee  are  your  affec- 
tionat  friends.'— P.  C.  JR. 

Next  follows  a  letter  from  the  committee  to  General  Dalyell 
on  the  same  subject : 

'  SIR — Having  receaved  information  of  a  Conventicle  keept  at  Cairn- 
hill  upon  the  ffirst  instant,  and  another  at  Colstouneslope,  upon  the 
eight  thereof,  in  Peebles  shyre,  where  severall  men  wer  in  armes,  and 
diverss  women  present,  of  which  informatione  a  Coppie  is  herewith  sent, 
wee  desyre  your  Excellencie  to  give  such  orders  for  discovery  of  those 
persones,  and  apprehending  them,  and  of  the  heretors  on  whose  ground 
the  Conventicles  wer  keept,  as  yow  shall  think  fitt.  And  wee  expect 
frequent  accounts  in  this  affair  ffrom  your  Excellencie.  Wee  ar  your 
Excellencie's  humble  servants.' — P.  C.  R. 

The  committee  subsequently  discovering  that  the  conventicles 
had  taken  place  within  the  confines  of  the  shire  of  Edinburgh, 
request  '  Master  Thomas  Skein,  sheriff-deput,'  to  make  the 
requisite  inquiries.  A  letter  being  received  by  the  Lord  Primate 
from  Claverhouse,  next  comes  under  notice,  June  6,  1684: 

'Ther  being  a  Letter  direct  from  Claverhouse  to  the  Lord  primate, 
giving  ane  account  of  the  dilligence  done  by  the  forces  in  pursuit  of 
those  rebells  in  armes  in  the  west,  the  Lords  ordered  a  Coppie  thereof 
to  be  sent  to  the  Lord  high  Thesaurer,  with  the  Coppies  of  the  papers 
yesternight  ordered. 

'  The  Letter  under  written  is  direct  from  the  Comittee  of  Councill  to 
the  Lord  high  Thesaurer,  being  prepared,  brought  in,  and  read,  was 
signed  by  the  Comittee.  And  ordered  to  be  dispatched  this  night,  of 
which  the  tenor  followes  : 

'May  it  please  your  Lordship,  Since  our  Last  of  the  ffourteenth 
instant,  wee  have  receaved  severall  accounts  anent  the  rebells  in  armes 
in  the  west,  and  ane  information  anent  two  Conventicles  in  Peebles 
shyre,  and  just  now  a  Letter  from  Claverhouse  anent  his  and  the  other 
officers  of  the  armie  ther  dilligence  in  persute  of  those  rebells,  dated  the 
Sexteenth  instant,  from  Paislay,  of  all  which,  and  of  the  journalls  of  the 
Comittee,  wee  have  herewith  transmitted  to  your  Lordship  exact  Coppies, 
That  His  Majestic  and  his  Royall  Highness  may  be  furder  informed. 


And  wee  shall  not  faill  to  do  our  outmost  duety  In  suppressing  those 
rogues,  and  securing  the  peace  of  the  country.  And  shall  continue  to 
give  your  Lordship  frequent  accounts  of  our  dilligence  from  tyme  to 
tyme,  wherewith  wee  hope  your  Lordship  will  be  pleased  to  acquaint  His 
Majestic  and  his  Royall  Highness.' — P.  C.  jR. 

1684,  Aug.     A  proclamation    was    this    day  read    for    the 
discovery  of  those  who  were  in  arms  in  the  west  lately,  and  their 
resetters. — Oct.  19.  Order  read  publicly  that  all  heritors  were  to 
meet  with  the  commissioners  of  the  Privy  Council  at  Peebles, 
and  especially  ministers  and  elders  are  to  wait  on  the  court  at 
Peebles  on  Wednesday  next. — 1685,  Jan.   18.    A  proclamation 
read  to  discover  those  who  own  or  who  will  not  discover  a  late 
treasonable  declaration   against   His   Majesty,   and  the  horrid 
principle  of  assassination  therein  specified. — K.  S.  R.,  Manor. 

Sept.  5. — '  The  Lords  of  His  Majesty's  Privy  Council,  under- 
standing that  several  officers  of  the  Militia  in  the  Shire  of 
Peebles  are  wanting,  Do  Give  warrant  to  the  Clerks  of  Councill 
to  write  to  the  Commissioners  of  the  Militia  of  that  shire  to 
meet  and  name  qualified  and  loyal  persons  to  be  officers  of  the 
militia  in  the  said  shire  where  there  are  places  vacant,  to  be 
transmitted  to  the  saids  Clerks,  to  be  considered  and  approven 
of  by  the  Councill.'— P.  C.  R. 

1685,  Sept.   6. — The   Earl   of   Balcarras,   Lord  Yester,  and 
William  Hay  of  Drummelzier,  are  commissioned  justiciars  of  the 
shires  of  Roxburgh,  Merse,  Selkirk,  and  Peebles,  to  secure  and 
punish  the  rebels  according  to  law. — P.  C.  R. 

Peeblesshire  has  the  honour,  or  dishonour,  of  having  had 
one  of  its  conveners  associated  with  Claverhouse  in  the 
dismal  houndings  and  shootings  of  1685.  The  person  who 
imparted  to  it  this  distinction  was  the  Honourable  Colonel 
James  Douglas,  brother  to  the  first  Duke  of  Queensberry. 
Quitting  the  profession  of  the  law,  he  entered  the  army, 
purchased  the  estate  of  Skirling  in  1681,  and  was  appointed 
to  be  a  colonel  of  the  Scots  Guards,  1684.  In  1685,  he 
appears  as  convener  of  the  Commissioners  of  Supply  of  Tweed- 
dale.  From  all  we  can  learn,  Douglas  was  a  man  of  superior 


attainments.  As  a  commander,  he  rendered  himself  remarkable 
for  the  training  and  good  discipline  of  his  regiment,  also  for 
enforcing  sobriety  and  neat  personal  appearance  among  the 
men.  Officers  had  been  in  the  habit  of  keeping  cellars,  whereby 
to  make  their  soldiers  waste  their  pay  in  drinking,  which 
despicable  practice  he  rebuked  and  put  down.  Colonel  Douglas 
rose  to  the  rank  of  lieutenant-general,  no  doubt  through  the 
interest  of  his  brother,  who  exercised  the  chief  power  in  Scotland 
in  the  latter  days  of  Charles  II.  As  one  to  be  depended  on  for 
his  military  knowledge  and  discretion,  General  Douglas  was 
employed,  in  1685,  to  march  against  the  Covenanters  in  the 
southern  counties,  and  received  very  extensive  powers  to  search 
for  and  punish  rebels.  Wodrow  mentions  a  number  of  cruelties, 
of  which  he  is  alleged  to  have  been  the  perpetrator.  According 
to  local  tradition,  he  attacked  and  dispersed  a  gathering  in  a 
secluded  part  of  Tweedsmuir,  on  which  occasion  John  Hunter 
was  shot  at  a  place  called  Corehead.  The  tombstone  of  this 
unfortunate  man,  erected  in  1726,  is  to  be  seen  in  Tweedsmuir 
churchyard.  General  Douglas  going  abroad  after  this  event, 
the  Privy  Council  found  it  necessary  to  empower  the  Laird  of 
Blackbarony  to  act  as  convener  of  the  county  until  his  return. 
He  died  at  Namur,  I69I.1 

The  Douglases  were  destined  to  play  a  more  important  part  in 
county  matters.  Pressed  upon  by  financial  difficulties,  the  Earl 
of  Tweeddale  found  it  necessary  to  dispose  of  Neidpath  and 
the  extensive  estate  connected  with  it  to  the  Duke  of  Queens- 
berry,  at  Whitsunday  1686.  The  whole  property  was  soon  after 
gifted  by  the  duke  to  his  second  son,  Lord  William  Douglas, 
already  created  Earl  of  March,  who  now  assumes  the  position  of 
patron  of  the  burgh  and  leading  man  in  the  sheriffdom. 

At  the  Revolution  of  1688,  which  transferred  the  crown  to 
William  and  Mary,  and  substituted  the  Presbyterian  for  the 
Episcopal  form  of  church-government  in  Scotland,  Peebles, 
like  some  other  places,  was  visited  by  an  enraged  mob,  which 

1  Skirling  Papers.     The  appearance  of  General  Douglas  is  pictured  in  p.  206. 


proceeded  to  commit  such  irregularities  as  fell  in  with  the  frenzy 
of  the  period.  We  have  an  account  of  this  strange  visitation  of 
Peebles  in  the  Vindication  of  Mr  Richard  Cameron,  by  the  cele- 
brated Peter  Walker,  of  Bristo  Port,  Edinburgh  * — Peter  himself 
having  apparently  taken  an  active  part  in  the  tumult.  The 
following  are  the  particulars  :  'In  the  end  of  the  year  1688,  at 
the  happy  Revolution,  when  the  Duke  of  York  [James  VII.]  fled, 
and  the  crown  was  vacant,  in  which  time  we  had  no  king  nor 
judicatories  in  the  kingdom,  the  united  societies  in  their  general 
correspondence,  considering  the  surprising,  unexpected,  merciful 
step  of  the  Lord's  dispensation,  thought  it  some  way  belonged  to 
us,  in  the  inter-regnum,  to  go  to  all  Popish  houses,  and  destroy 
their  monuments  of  idolatry,  with  their  priests'  robes,  and  to 
apprehend  and  put  to  prison  themselves  ;  which  was  done  at  the 
cross  of  Dumfries  and  Peebles,  and  other  places.  That  honour- 
able and  worthy  gentleman,  Donald  Ker  of  Kersland,2  having  a 
considerable  number  of  us  with  him,  went  to  the  House  of 
Traquair,  in  frost  and  snow,  and  found  a  great  deal  of  Romish 
wares  there,  but  wanted  the  cradle,  Mary,  and  the  Babe,  and  the 
priest.  He  sent  James  Arcknyes,  and  some  with  him,  to  the 
house  of  Mr  Thomas  Louis,  who  had  the  name  of  a  Presbyterian 
minister.  Kersland  ordered  them  to  search  his  house  narrowly, 
and  behave  themselves  discreetly,  which  they  did.  Mr  Louis 
and  his  wife  mocked  them,  without  offering  them  either  meat  or 
drink,  though  they  had  much  need  of  it.  At  last  they  found  two 
trunks  locked,  which  they  desired  to  have  opened.  Mr  Louis 
then  left  them.  They  broke  up  the  coffers,  wherein  they  found 
a  golden  cradle,  with  Mary,  and  the  Babe  in  her  bosom  ;  in  the 
other  trunk,  the  priests'  robes  (the  earl  and  the  priest  were  fled), 
which  they  brought  all  to  the  cross  of  Peebles,  with  a  great  deal 
of  Popish  books,  and  many  other  things  of  great  value,  all 

1  Published  originally  in  1727,  and  republished  in  the  Biographia  Presbyterians. 
Stevenson,  Edinburgh,  1827. 

*  For  the  proper  character  of  this  '  honourable  and  worthy  gentleman,"  who  acted  as 
spy  and  informer  for  government,  under  the  immediate  orders  of  the  Duke  of  Queens- 
berry,  see  Burton's  History  of  Scotland,  i.  p.  463. 



Romish  wares,  and  burnt  them  there.  At  the  same  time,  we 
concluded  to  go  to  all  the  Prelatick  intruding  curates,  and  to 
give  them  warning  to  remove,  with  all  that  belonged  to  them. 
....  That  we  should  call  for  the  church's  goods,  cups,  and 
basons,  and  also  for  the  kirk-box,  wherein  was  nothing  but  a  few 
doits ;  likewise  for  the  session-book  and  kirk-door  keys ;  and 
that  we  should  deliver  all  to  men  of  credit.'  It  will  subsequently 
appear  that  the  communion-plate  belonging  to  the  church  of 
Peebles  at  this  period  was  fortunately  saved,  and  is  still  in  use. 

With  a  notice  of  this  extraordinary  riot,  disgraceful  alike  to 
the  actors  and  to  the  authorities  who  permitted  such  excesses, 
we  appropriately  close  the  present  section  of  our  narrative. 


THE  Revolution  Settlement,  with  many  valuable  securities 
against  arbitrary  power,  introduces  us  unfortunately  to  a 
new  phase  of  religious  dissension.  Instead  of  the  tests  and 
oaths  of  office,  which  caused  so  much  trouble  in  the  reigns  of 
Charles  II.  and  his  brother,  we  have  the  edict  of  the  Scottish 
Estates,  April  13,  1689,  enjoining  ministers,  under  penalties,  to 
pray  publicly  for  their  majesties,  William  and  Mary,  and  to  read 
a  proclamation  dethroning  King  James.  The  enforcing  of  these 
obligations,  as  appears  from  the  records,  had  much  the  same 
effect  in  ousting  the  settled  parochial  clergy,  as  that  which 
ensued  from  the  act  establishing  Episcopacy  in  1662.  If  any 
one  entertain  doubts  on  the  subject,  he  has  only  to  consult  the 
books  of  the  Privy  Council,  which  contain  evidence,  to  a  weari- 
some extent,  of  the  extrusion  of  parish  ministers  for  nonconfor- 
mity at  the  Revolution.  Not  many  of  the  Peeblesshire  ministers 
refused  to  change  sides.  Now,  as  on  former  occasions,  they 
generally  followed  the  lairds,  quietly  dropped  the  rule  of  a 
diocesan,  prayed  according  to  state  injunctions,  and  kept  their 
manses  and  livings.  If  inclined  to  think  that  this  was  some- 
what mean-spirited,  we  are  charitably  to  recollect  that  the 
change  was  only  one  in  a  series  which  perhaps  had  not  yet 
come  to  an  end.  For  about  a  century,  ecclesiastical  polity 
in  Scotland  had  undergone  revolutions  with  a  frequency 


which  must  have  ceased  to  astonish.  There  were,  doubtless, 
at  this  time  people  alive  in  Tweeddale,  as  elsewhere,  who  had 
seen  about  half-a-dozen  of  these  overturns,  and  to  them  one 
more  would  almost  seem  a  matter  of  course.  Dr  Pennecuik 
lets  us  know,  in  verse,  that  his  father,  the  Laird  of  Newhall, 


'  death  at  length  had  shuffled  from  the  stage, 

The  oldest  ./Esculapius  of  our  age,' 

possessed  this  happy  amount  of  experience,  for  in  the  course  of 
his  long  life,  protracted  to  '  thrice  thirty  years,' 

'  Five  mighty  kings,  from  his  birth  to  his  grave, 
The  Caledonian  sceptre  swayed  have ; 
Four  times  his  eyes  hath  seen  from  cloak  to  gown, 
Prelate  and  presbyter  turned  upside  down.' 

Peacefully  as  the  transition  from  prelate  to  presbyter  was  now 
effected  in  Peeblesshire,  there  were  a  few  ministers  so  conscien- 
tiously intractable  as  to  risk  deprivation  rather  than  comply 
with  the  new  requisitions. 

1689,  Aug.  27. — At  the  complaint  of  Richard  Murray  of 
Spitalhaugh  and  others,  William  Gray,  minister  of  Linton,  was 
ordered  to  appear  to  answer  the  charge  of  not  praying  for  their 
majesties,  William  and  Mary.  Not  appearing,  an  act  of  depri- 
vation is  passed  against  him. — P.  C.  R. 

Same  date. — At  the  complaint  of  John  Noble  and  Alexander 
Russell,  William  Bullo,  minister  of  Stobo,  was  deprived  for  not 
praying  for  their  majesties. — P.  C.  R. 

Sep.  17. — At  the  complaint  of  James  Geddes  of  Kirkurd, 
David  Spence,  minister,  was  deprived  for  not  praying  for  their 
majesties. — P.  C.  R. 

Same  date. — At  the  complaint  of  James  Brown  of  Kilbucho, 
and  others,  William  Alison,  minister,  was  charged  with  not 
praying  for  their  majesties,  William  and  Mary,  and  of  praying 
for  King  James.  Alison,  who  was  old  and  deaf,  repelled  the 
accusation,  declared  that  he  had  prayed  for  their  majesties  ;  and 
that  as  for  King  James,  he  had  prayed  only  for  his  reformation. 
Absolved  from  the  charge. — P.  C.  R. 


Richard  Brown,  who  had  been  deposed  from  Drummelzier 
five  or  six  years  before  the  Revolution,  was  now  restored  ;  he,  in 
turn,  ousting  James  Simpson.  George  Forbes  was  ousted  from 
Traquair  in  1690. — P.  R.  The  case  of  David  Thomson,  minister 
of  Manor,  was  peculiar.  Suffering  from  the  outrage  on  his  person 
already  mentioned,  he  was  from  infirmity  obliged  to  resign  his 
charge,  leaving  the  parish  for  some  time  vacant.  On  the  6th  of 
September  1689,  he  petitions  the  Privy  Council  for  pecuniary  relief. 
He  says  he  had  laboured  twenty-five  years  in  the  service  of  the 
gospel,  but  was  now  disabled  through  the  loss  of  his  hearing, 
occasioned  by  wounds  received  in  his  head  from  the  swords  of 
bloody  rebels,  and  other  hardships,  which  caused  him  to  lay 
down  his  charge,  leaving  himself  and  family  of  seven  children 
without  maintenance.  Compassionating  the  petitioner,  the 
Lords  recommend  Sir  Patrick  Murray  to  allow  him  a  share  of 
'  the  collections  uplifted  for  the  Irish  and  French  Protestants.' 
—P.  C.  R. 

In  Peebles,  the  change  from  Episcopacy  to  Presbytery  pro- 
duced one  of  those  complicated  cases  of  settlement  which 
disfigure  the  history  of  the  Scottish  Church.  John  Hay,  minister 
under  the  Episcopal  system,  died  about  the  time  of  the  Revo- 
lution, leaving  an  assistant  or  curate,  Robert  Knox,  who  was 
nominated  by  the  Duke  of  Queensberry  to  the  charge,  Novem- 
ber 17,  1689,  and  unanimously  accepted  by  the  whole  heritors, 
elders,  and  parishioners  who  were  present  when  the  letter  of 
nomination  was  read.  Others,  however,  were  dissatisfied ;  and 
in  September  1690,  a  call,  according  to  regular  usage,  was 
moderated  for  Mr  William  Veitch,  who  was  admitted  with  the 
customary  solemnities.  Here,  then,  were  two  competing  claim- 
ants for  the  charge.  Knox's  settlement  was  clearly  irregular, 
but  it  was  pleaded  for  him,  that  at  the  time  of  his  appointment 
the  church  was  in  a  state  of  disorganisation,  and  that  this  ought 
not  to  prevent  him  from  being  now  installed  in  proper  form.  A 
litigation  on  the  subject  was  carried  on  for  several  years,  during 
which  Veitch  performed  the  duties  of  minister,  but  without  legal 

stipend  ;  and  his  loss,  including  law  expenses,  amounted,  we  are 



told,  to  above  '  ten  thousand  merks.' l  To  notions  of  legal  right, 
the  two  claimants,  with  their  respective  abettors,  probably  added 
the  bitterness  of  sectarian  jealousy.  Veitch  had  been  a  kind  of 
martyr ;  he  had  preached  at  conventicles,  been  chased  by 
dragoons,  taken  refuge  in  Holland,  lived  for  a  time  in  penury 
in  England,  and  in  point  of  sufferings,  deserved  to  end  his  days 
in  peace  at  Peebles.  He  likewise  possessed  that  universally 
admitted  claim  on  public  compassion — a  large  family,  who  often 
in  the  days  of  persecution  had  been  without  bread.2  Nor  was  he 
without  high  professional  qualifications,  if  we  may  judge  from 
the  fact  of  his  being  appointed  by  the  provincial  synod  of 
Lothian  and  Tweeddale,  of  which  he  was  moderator,  to  preach 
two  sermons  before  the  High  Commissioner  to  the  General 
Assembly  and  the  Estates  of  Parliament,  in  May  i693.3 

As  an  additional  involvement  in  a  case  which  is  barely 
intelligible,  Hay,  the  predecessor  in  the  living,  had  executed  a 
tack  for  five  years  of  the  teinds  connected  with  the  benefice,  for 
behoof  of  his  family,  and  prejudicial  alike  to  his  successor  and 
the  heritors.  On  the  i8th  of  August  1690,  the  magistrates  and 
town-council  of  Peebles,  who  were  some  way  answerable  for  the 
proceeds,  petition  the  Privy  Council  to  know  what  they  are  to 
do.  In  a  state  of  great  perplexity,  they  say  that  they  are  beset 
on  the  one  hand  by  William  Veitch,  who  claims  to  be  minister 
of  Peebles,  and  on  the  other,  by  Lord  William  Douglas,  the 
principal  heritor.  The  end  of  the  business  is,  that  Douglas  is 

»  M'Crie's  Memoirs  of  William  Veitch,  p.  188. 

8  In  a  paper  written  by  Veitch,  he  describes  how,  when  living  in  great  straits  with 
his  numerous  family  in  Northumberland,  they  were  all  happily  extricated  by  the 
arrival  of  a  gift  of  provisions  while  he  was  trying  to  amuse  away  their  hunger  by 
playing  a  tune  on  the  citern,  a  species  of  guitar.  'One  evening,'  he  says,  'he,  his 
wife  and  children,  went  to  bed  with  a  light  supper,  which  made  the  children  cry  in  the 
morning,  when  they  awaked,  for  want  of  meat ;  but  there  being  none  in  the  house,  he 
bade  them  be  still,  and  he  would  play  them  a  spring  upon  the  citern.  He  played  and 
wept ;  and  they  and  their  mother  wept,  they  being  in  one  room,  and  he  and  his  wife 
in  bed  in  another.  But  before  he  had  done  playing,  one  raps  at  the  gate ;  and  it 
proved  to  be  a  servant-man,  sent  from  a  worthy  and  charitable  lady,  with  a  horse-load 
of  meal,  cheese,  and  beef. ' — Remarkable  Providences  concerning  Mr  Harie  Erskine, 
senf,  an.  1718,  by  Mr  W.  Veitch:  Wodraw  MSS.,  Advocate? Library. 

8  These  sermons  were  printed  in  a  small  volume,  which  is  now  prized  by  book- 
hunters  for  its  extreme  rarity. 


empowered  to  draw  the  teinds  and  keep  an  account  of  them  till 
the  case  is  regularly  settled  by  the  Judge  Ordinary;  the  rights  of 
all  parties  being  in  the  meanwhile  reserved.  Veitch  having  to 
litigate  this  case  as  well  as  that  connected  with  his  settle- 
ment, it  does  not  surprise  us  to  be  told,  that  after  a  scarcely 
legal  incumbency  of  four  years,  he  left  Peebles  with  mingled 
feelings  of  sorrow  and  disgust,  and  afterwards  accepted  the 
living  of  Dumfries. 

The  Hays,  who  contributed  so  materially  to  Veitch's  troubles, 
had  been  long  ministerially  connected  with  the  parish  ;  the  more 
distinguished  member  of  the  family  being  Dr  Theodore  Hay, 
parson  of  Peebles  in  the  latter  part  of  the  reign  of  Charles  I. 
His  son,  John  Hay,  who  appears,  from  an  inscription  on  the 
church-plate,  to  have  been  'rector  of  Peebles  and  Manor'  in 
1684,  died,  as  above  stated,  at  the  Revolution,  leaving  a  son, 
Henry  Hay,  a  teacher  in  Peebles,  who  kept  a  school  in  a  vault 
amidst  the  decayed  cloisters  of  the  Cross  Church.  Educated 
for  the  church,  Hay  added  preaching  to  his  avocation  as  teacher, 
and  on  this  account,  as  well  as  on  the  ground  of  personal  irre- 
gularities, he  unfortunately  gave  cause  for  some  arbitrary  pro- 
ceedings on  the  part  of  the  magistrates  and  Presbytery.  Looking 
to  the  late  overturn,  young  Hay  was  now  a  dissenter,  and  if  the 
retaining  of  his  wretched  school-room  was  a  fault,  or  if  his  con- 
duct was  otherwise  open  to  challenge,  it  was  enough  that  he 
should  have  been  prosecuted  and  punished  in  regular  course  of 
law.  The  magistrates  of  Peebles,  however,  still  assumed,  often 
on  very  vaguely-supported  charges,  the  right  of  summary  expul- 
sion from  the  burgh ;  while  the  Presbytery,  incited  by  Veitch, 
whose  own  sufferings  had  not  taught  him  the  virtue  of  toleration, 
seems  to  have  imagined  that,  by  the  Revolution  Settlement,  it 
possessed  the  right  to  preach  and  teach  on  the  principles  of  a 
strict  corporation  monopoly,  and  accordingly  insisted  on  the 
banishment  of  Hay  from  the  town.  Appearing  by  summons 
before  the  Presbytery,  he  explains  that  he  kept  the  school  under 
the  protection  of  the  Duke  of  Queensberry ;  that  it  is  a  private 
school ;  and  that  he  declines  to  acknowledge  the  jurisdiction  of 


the  Presbytery  in  the  matter.  He  is  equally  obstinate  in  not 
shewing  his  licence  for  preaching.  In  vindication  of  its  rights, 
the  Presbytery  (April  19,  1693)  puts  on  record,  that  it  is  legally 
entitled  to  prohibit  all  persons  to  teach  schools  till  they  be 
qualified  to  do  so  under  its  authority ;  and,  a  month  later,  it 
appeals,  in  support  of  its  claim,  to  the  Privy  Council. 

1693,  May  22. — Petition  presented  by  Mr  William  Russell, 
moderator  of  the  Presbytery  of  Peebles,  and  Mr  William 
Veitch,  minister  of  the  kirk  of  Peebles,  '  Shewing  that  Mr 
Henry  Hay,  a  pretended  preacher,  doth  keep  a  schooll  in  a 
vault  belonging  to  the  kirk  of  Peebles,  after  having  been  thrust 
out  of  the  toune  of  Peebles  by  the  magistrats  thereof  for  his 
immoral  and  scandalous  behaviour,  and  was  for  the  same 
cause,  and  other  scandells,  also  to  show  his  warrand  to  preach, 
conveened  before  the  said  Presbytery.  But  nevertheless  he  did 
prove  contumacious,  declyning  the  entire  authority  thereof,  for 
which  he  stands  most  justlie  deposed  by  the  said  Presbytery 
both  from  the  office  of  a  preacher  and  a  schoolmaster,  and  yet 
continues  presumptuously  to  despyse  their  sentence  and  keep  up 
the  said  school  in  high  contempt  and  disobedience,  as  is  clear  by 
ane  act  of  the  Presbytery  herewith  produced.'  The  Lords  are 
craved  to  award  such  assistance  to  the  kirk  as  they  have  done  in 
like  cases,  by  causing-  Mr  Henry  Hay  to  desist  from  his  assumed 
offices,  and  to  remove  from  the  school,  also  to  deliver  up  the 
registers  of  the  vault,  and  '  ordaine  him  to  be  banished  the  toune 
and  parish  of  Peebles.'  Hay  is  ordered  to  compear  to  answer 
these  charges  on  the  sixth  of  June,  and  warrant  is  granted  to 
cite  witnesses. — P.  C.  R.  Neither  on  the  day  appointed,  nor  at 
a  subsequent  period,  is  there  any  further  notice  of  the  case, 
which,  to  judge  from  the  Presbytery  records,  mainly  depended 
on  the  decision  of  the  Duke  of  Queensberry. 

How  Lord  William  Douglas  ultimately  disposed  of  the  teinds 
which  he  was  authorised  to  collect,  we  need  not  stop  to  inquire. 
Assuming  that  justice  was  done  to  all  parties,  it  is  not  out  of 
place  to  mention  that  society  had  not  yet  got  into  the  way  of 
dealing  with  strict  honesty  in  such  matters.  Ever  since  the 


Reformation,  heritors  had  entertained  loose  notions  respecting 
the  church-property,  of  which,  by  law,  they  were  the  guardians 
and  distributors.  If,  by  any  accident  or  manoeuvre,  a  minister  was 
kept  out  of  a  parish  for  a  few  years,  'the  vacant  stipend,'  as 
it  was  usually  called,  formed  a  singularly  convenient  fund  for 
making  roads,  building  bridges,  or  executing  other  public  works, 
which  would  now  be  the  proper  subject  of  local  assessment — 
though  we  are  bound  to  do  the  heritors  this  justice,  that  when 
they  in  this  manner  made  away  with  church-property,  it  was 
always  on  the  perfectly  satisfactory  ground  of  being  put  to  '  pious 
uses.'  As  no  use  was  more  '  pious '  than  that  of  building  a  bridge, 
in  order  to  avert  the  possibility  of  people  being  drowned  in  crossing 
an  impetuous  river,  so  no  excuse  for  laying  hands  on  vacant 
stipends  was  more  frequent  or  viewed  with  more  complacent 
indulgence  by  the  Lords  of  the  Privy  Council — they  themselves 
being  heritors,  and  quite  aware  of  what  good  could  be  done  by 
judiciously  expending  a  few  hundred  pounds  to  improve  a 
neighbourhood.  The  church  itself,  however,  was  not  disinclined 
to  render  aid  in  executing  public  works.  We  observe  from  the 
presbytery  and  parish  records,  that  collections  were  often  ordered 
to  help  people  in  distant  quarters  of  the  country  to  build  bridges.1 
On  one  occasion  (i/io)  the  kirk-session  of  Glenholm  petitions 
the  patron  and  heritors  of  the  parish  '  to  give  some  of  the  vacant 
stipends'  to  build  a  bridge  across  Holms  Water ;  in  which  request 
the  presbytery  afterwards  concurs.  Prepared  by  these  explana- 
tions, we  are  able  to  appreciate  the  nature  of  the  following 
petitions : 

1694,  June  21. — James  Geddes  of  Kirkurd,  on  petition,  is 
authorised  by  the  Privy  Council  to  uplift  the  vacant  stipend  of 
the  parish,  and  to  employ  the  same  '  for  repairing  the  kirk  and 
putting  a  sclait  roof  thereon,  and  repairing  the  manse  and  kirk- 
yaird  dyke,  and  other  pious  uses.' — P.  C.  R. 

1  From  1659  to  1668,  the  Presbytery  of  Peebles  ordered  contributions  to  be  made 
for  the  harbours  of  Dunbar,  Saltpreston,  and  Whithorn  ;  Ancrum  bridge,  Tyne 
bridge  at  Haddington,  Sanquhar  bridge,  and  the  bridges  of  Dee  and  Spittal ;  also 
Jcdburgh  kirk.—/1.  K. 


1695. — After  some  proceedings  before  the  Presbytery,  a 
petition  was  presented  by  Lord  William  Douglas  to  the  Lords  of 
the  Privy  Council,  November  5,  '  Shewing  that  the  petitioner 
is  patron  of  the  church  and  parish  of  Manor,  which  have  been 
vacant  these  several  years  byegone,  and  the  petitioner  being 
resolved  to  apply  the  vacand  stipend  thereof  for  building  ane 
bridge  over  the  Water  of  Manor  at  the  foot  thereof,  where 
formerly  there  was  ane  built  and  is  now  fallen,  and  which  Water 
is  oft  times  so  great  that  it  cannot  be  past,  and  which  is  not  only 
upon  the  common  mercat  road  for  a  great  part  of  the  parish,  and 
the  greatest  part  of  the  shire  of  Peebles,  but  likeways  the  patent 
road  to  and  from  England  for  the  greatest  part  of  the  western 
shires  of  the  kingdome,  and  the  building  thereof  is  a  most 
necessar  pious  use.'  The  prayer  of  the  petition  being  considered, 
Lord  William  Douglas  receives  authority  to  employ  the  vacant 
stipend  as  craved,  for  the  building  of  the  bridge ;  Alexander 
Horsburgh,  younger,  of  that  Ilk,  who  has  a  factorage  from  his 
lordship,  to  proceed  to  collect  the  stipend,  he  giving  caution  to 
use  the  money  only  as  specified. — P.  C.  R. 

The  bridge  here  referred  to  is  that  now  over  the  small  river 
Manor,  a  short  way  above  its  junction  with  the  Tweed.  The 
inscription  on  it  bears  that  it  was  erected  by  Lord  William 
Douglas,  but  leaves  out  the  not  unimportant  fact,  that  the  cost 
was  defrayed  from  church-property.  The  representation  made 
by  his  lordship  is  otherwise  curious.  We  gather  from  it  that 
there  was  previously  a  bridge  across  the  Manor  at  the  spot, 
which  afforded  a  means  of  communication  between  the  western 
shires  of  Scotland  and  England.  The  only  explanation  that 
can  be  given  respecting  a  thoroughfare  of  this  kind  is,  that  there 
was  at  one  time  a  much-used  road  from  Clydesdale  by  way  of 
Broughton,  the  ford  across  the  Tweed  above  Drummelzier, 
thence  through  Manor  parish  and  over  the  Swire  to  Peebles, 
from  which  the  route  would  proceed  in  an  easterly  direction 
towards  the  English  border.  The  want  of  bridges  across  the 
lower  part  of  the  Lyne,  and  a  very  imperfect  road  by  Neidpath, 
would  send  the  traffic  by  this  circuitous  and  hilly,  but  only 


available  route.  It  is  therefore  to  be  understood  that  the 
bridge  across  the  Tweed  at  Peebles  was  not  built  wholly  for 
local  convenience,  but  in  a  great  measure  to  give  facility  of 
transit  between  the  west  of  Scotland  and  the  north-eastern 
counties  of  England. 

The  tolbooth  erected  in  Peebles  in  1605  had,  in  the  course  of 
time,  become  so  insecure  as  to  be  unable  to  answer  the  purposes 
of  a  prison.  This  deficiency  is  heard  of  in  connection  with  the 
case  of  a  poor  wandering  woman  who  was  taken  up  (July 
1689)  on  the  charge  of  having  murdered  her  infant  by 
throwing  it  into  Haystoun  Burn.  The  magistrates  in  applying 
to  the  sheriff-depute,  John  Balfour  of  Kailzie,  to  have  the 
supposed  murderess  removed  and  tried,  state  that  they  had  to 
employ  persons  to  keep  watch,  as  the  prison  was  not  strong 
enough  to  secure  her.  By  order  of  the  Privy  Council,  the  poor 
creature  was  sent  to  Edinburgh,  and  after  lying  in  prison  three 
years,  was  tried  by  the  Court  of  Justiciary  in  June  1692,  and 
sentenced  to  be  hanged. 

Certain  accounts  alleged  to  be  due  by  government  to  the 
inhabitants  of  Peebles  and  the  tenants  of  Whitfield,  near  Linton, 
for  articles  furnished  to  the  royal  forces  formerly  stationed  in 
the  shire,  are  brought  under  the  notice  of  the  Privy  Council 
April  20,  1696.  The  first  group  of  accounts  consists  of  those 
due  by  '  the  deceast  Lord  Angus  his  regiment  to  the  inhabitants 
of  Peebles.'  The  other  accounts  are  those  due  by  '  the  deceast 
Lord  Cardross  his  regiment  of  dragoons,  and  the  Lord  Elphing- 
stone  his  troupe  of  horse,  to  the  tenants  of  Whitfield,  at  the  toune 
of  Linton  in  Tweeddale.'  The  Lords  find  the  greater  part  of  the 
accounts  to  be  due  and  properly  vouched,  and  ordain  payment 
to  be  made  of  '  thrie  score  eleven  pounds  two  shillings  and 
eight  pennies  to  the  inhabitants  of  Peebles,  and  of  the  soum  of 
eight  pounds  eighteen  shillings  Scots  to  the  tenants  of  Whitfield' 
— the  money  to  be  taken  out  of  the  pole-money,  a  fund  devoted 
to  liquidate  debts  of  this  nature. — P.  C.  R. 

At  the  close  of  the  1 7th  and  beginning  of  the  i8th  century, 
the  parish  records  shew  signs  of  an  increasingly  active  church- 


discipline,  in  which  elders  perform  the  part  of  modern  police- 

1691,  May  8.  It  is  recommended  to  the  different  elders  to  search  in 
their  quarters  if  any  have  carried  themselves  scandalously  in  time  of  the 
fair,  that  either  they  be  punished  accordingly,  or  banished  the  town.  It 
is  also  ordered  that  a  deacon  and  an  elder,  with  the  beadle,  go  through 
the  town  after  the  afternoon-sermon,  at  6  o'clock,  and  search  all 
suspicious  alehouses  for  drunkards — Bailie  Shiel  to  be  deacon  for  tl>e 
first  round. — 1699.  Elspeth  Gall  summoned  for  going  up  the  Old 
Town  on  Sunday  with  a  burden  on  her  back. — Aug.  13.  The  minister 

informed  the  session  that ,  writer  [the  name  is  given],  had  been 

drunk  on  Thursday  last,  and  conducted  himself  in  an  abusive  manner. 
The  delinquent  being  summoned,  confessed  his  fault,  and  promised 
amendment  with  all  humility. — K.  S.  R.,  Peebles. — 1698.  Nov.  The 
elders,  along  with  the  kirk-officer,  are  appointed  to  scour  the  town  for 
vaguers  on  the  Lord's  Day.  Any  one  found  drinking  in  an  alehouse 
after  9  P.M.,  to  be  censured. — K.  S.  1?.,  Broughton. — 1704.  The  people 
warned  against  Penny-Weddings,  because  of  the  abuses  they  lead  to. — 
K,  S.  R.,  Glenholm. — 1694.  Mary  Mitchel,  residing  in  Bold,  brought 
before  the  session  on  the  accusation  of  having  burnt  her  Bible,  which 
she  confesses  having  done  in  a  freak,  and  is  ordered  to  stand  several 
times  on  the  stool  of  repentance.  Mary,  who  seems  to  have  been  an 
indifferent  character,  declares  she  does  not  care  how  often  she  makes 
her  appearance  before  the  congregation ;  she  stands  three  times,  the 
parish  having  borrowed  the  Peebles  sackcloth  for  the  purpose. — 1701. 
The  minister  warns  the  people  against  drinking  in  change-houses,  and 
giving  harbourage  to  vagabond  carlines  who  had  come  into  the  parish. — 
1736.  A  man  -is  dilated  for  profaning  the  Lord's  Day,  by  graithing 
[harnessing]  his  horse. — K.  S.  R.,  Traquair. 

So  numerous  are  the  entries  of  this  kind  in  the  parish  records 
in  the  early  part  of  the  eighteenth  century,  that  evidently  the 
kirk-sessions,  reinvigorated  by  the  recent  religious  changes,  had 
attained  to  something  like  the  power  which  they  possessed 
during  the  Cromwellian  era. 

At  this  period,  the  convention  of  royal  burghs  was  a  more 
powerful  body  than  it  is  at  present  ;  for  besides  forming  a 
bond  of  union  for  mutual  assistance  and  protection,  it  exercised 
a  considerable  control  over  the  proceedings  of  the  burghs, 
separately.  An  example  of  this  species  of  supervision  occurs  in 


regard  to  Peebles  in  1692.  The  magistrates  and  town-clerk 
appeared  by  summons  before  two  commissioners  appointed  to 
make  certain  inquiries  respecting  the  financial  condition  of  the 
burgh,  its  trade,  and  other  matters.  From  the  replies  which 
were  made,  we  gather  the  following  particulars. 

The  common  good  or  general  revenue  of  Peebles  amounts  on  an 
average  of  the  last  five  years  to  ^1722,  6s.  Scots  money  ;  and  the  debt 
due  by  the  town  by  bonds  amounts  to  ^6706,  i2S,  &d.,  money  afore- 
said. The  town  has  only  two  mortifications,  one  of  200  merks,  and  the 
other  of  100  merks;  the  annual  produce  of  these  being  paid  to  the 
schoolmaster  for  maintaining  poor  scholars  at  the  grammar-school,  and 
also  for  keeping  Tweed  bridge  in  repair.  The  official  expenses  of  the 
burgh  amount  to  £1?,  13^.  4^.  Scots,  annually.  The  burgh  has  no 
foreign  trade,  and  '  the  inland  trade  is  very  mean  and  inconsiderable ; ' 
the  inhabitants  'vend  and  consume  about  three  hogsheads  yearly  of 
French  wines,  and  about  half  .a  tun  of  sack  and  brandy;  and  their 
consumption  of  malt  will  extend  to  about  six  or  seven  hundred  bolls 
yearly.'  '  The  burgh  pays  100  merks  yearly  out  of  the  common  good 
to  the  minister ;  and  pays  to  the  schoolmaster,  precentor,  and  all  other 
public  servants  out  of  the  common  good  the  sum  of  ^445  Scots.'  *  All 
their  public  works  are  upholden  out  of  the  common  good,  and  they 
are  brought  to  much  expenses  yearly  in  maintaining  five  bridges, 
one  whereof  hath  five  arches  over  Tweed ; '  their  debt,  however, 
continues  much  as  has  been  stated.  Their  houses  are  mostly  inhabited 
by  their  respective  heritors,  who  pay  no  town  tax  ;  all  the  other  houses 
will  not  amount  to  above  ^100  yearly,  and  'they  have  no  stranger 
inhabitants  amongst  them.' — C.  JR.  The  commissioners  made  no 
inquiry  concerning  the  extensive  commons  which  had  been  gifted  to 
the  town,  and  no  notice  is  taken  of  them. 

On  the  7th  of  July  1696,  the  convention  had  under  consideration  a 
petition  from  the  town-council  of  Peebles,  representing  that  they  and 
their  predecessors  have  had  the  privilege  'to  seize  all  light  weights,  short 
ell-wands,  and  other  insufficient  goods  in  all  the  fairs  and  public  mercats 
within  the  shire  of  Teviotdale ;  yet,  of  late  they  were  impeded  by  the 
Earl  of  Traquair.'  The  convention  recommended  the  burghs  of  Cupar, 
Dumbarton,  and  Lochmaben  to  commune  with  Lord  Traquair  anent 
the  matter,  and  to  use  their  utmost  endeavour  to  accommodate  the  same, 
and  report  to  next  convention. — C.  R. 

Next  year,  we  see  no  entry  in  the  books  of  the  convention  on  the 
above  weighty  subject,  but  notice  is  taken  of  a  petition  from  Peebles 
concerning  its  bridges,  tolbooth,  and  schoolhouse,  which  are  represented 


to  be  in  need  of  repair,  and  aid  is  required  for  the  purpose.  A  com- 
mittee being  appointed  to  visit  the  burgh,  brings  up  its  report  respecting 
the  state  of  these  buildings,  in  1698.  They  are  said  to  be  in  a  bad 
condition,  and  the  convention  orders  its  agent  to  make  payment  to  the 
burgh  of  Peebles  'of  the  soume  of  400  merks  Scots  money,  to  be 
employed  towards  repairing  the  said  bridges,  tolbooth,  and  schoolhouse, 
at  the  sight  and  advice  of  the  burghs  of  Jedburgh,  Selkirk,  and  Lauder.' 
In  the  same  convention,  several  other  burghs  received  similar  grants  for 
like  purposes. —  C.  R.  At  this  and  a  later  period,  the  annual  contribu- 
tion of  Peebles  to  the  funds  of  the  convention  was  fixed  at  gs. — C.  R. 

At  the  Union,  the  records  of  the  Privy  Council  of  Scotland 
are  closed,  and  no  longer  can  we  look  for  assistance  to  these 
valuable  chronicles  of  domestic  events.  Unfortunately,  no  aid 
can  be  immediately  obtained  from  the  records  of  the  burgh,  for 
they  are  missing  from  1678  till  1714,  and  we  are  accordingly 
without  the  means  of  knowing  what  occurred  in  Peebles  at 
the  passing  of  the  Act  of  Union,  which,  though  constituting  the 
basis  of  the  prosperity  now  universally  enjoyed,  was  unpopular 
throughout  the  country.  The  benefits  of  this  great  measure 
were,  however,  to  be  remote,  while  certain  damages  it  was  to 
inflict  were  immediate.  Hitherto,  Peebles,  like  other  towns,  had 
been  dignified  by  mansions  forming  the  winter  residence  of 
county  gentry ;  the  more  conspicuous  of  these  '  lodgings/  as 
they  were  termed,  being  occupied  by  the  Earls  of  March,  the 
Naesmyths  of  Posso,  and  the  Williamsons  of  Cardrona,  of 
which  last  edifice  we  offer  a  representation  on  next  page.  The 
Union,  by  drawing  families  of  rank  to  London,  and  opening 
up  prospects  of  foreign  employment,  was  therefore  destructive 
of  the  old-fashioned  system  of  living  in  country  towns,  which 
were  now  to  be  left  chiefly  to  the  tradesmen  and  artisans 
required  by  the  neighbourhood.  Yet,  it  may  be  doubted 
if  the  Union  was  any  more  than  an  accidental  aggravation 
of  a  prevailing  tendency.  The  rural  districts  were  beginning 
in  a  small  way  to  be  improved,  and  although  the  country 
at  large  was  overrun  with  beggars  and  vagrants,  there  were 
no  longer  either  border  forays  or  deadly  family  feuds  to 
deter  the  more  timid  class  of  proprietors  from  building  houses 



and  living  habitually  on  their  estates.  With  Cromwell,  the 
fighting-times  had  expired,  for  all  that  had  since  taken  place 
were  but  insurrectionary  tumults,  confined  mainly  to  the  south- 
western shires,  and  even  these  disturbances  were  allayed  by  the 

It  would  not  be  strange  if  the  people  of  Peebles  looked  with 
apprehension  to  any  legislative  measure  which  was  likely  to 
stimulate  the  wish  to  desert  the  old  burgh.  The  town  had  been 
in  its  palmiest  state  of  enjoyment  shortly  after  the  Restoration. 
There  were  frequent  balls  and  assemblies,  graced  by  the  aristocracy 
of  the  county.  The  thatched  dwellings  of  a  past  era  were  giving 

Fig.  27. — Town-mansion  of  Williamson  of  Cardrona,  now  an  Inn. 

way  to  slated  houses,  built  with  a  degree  of  taste  that  puts  to 
shame  the  tame  unornamented  edifices  of  the  eighteenth  century. 
Until  now,  Peebles  had  the  honour  of  sending  a  commissioner 
to  the  Scottish  parliament,  instead  of  which  it  was  to  be  reduced 
to  the  position  of  joining  with  Lanark,  Linlithgow,  and 
Selkirk  in  naming  a  representative  to  the  House  of  Commons ; 
while  the  shire  was  to  have  one  member  in  place  of  two.  We 
can  fancy  that  these  deteriorations  of  ancient  privileges  were 
viewed  with  as  little  complacency  as  the  general  scheme  of  the 
Union  ;  though,  through  the  influence  of  the  Duke  of  Queens- 
berry,  the  measure  probably  excited  no  outward  demonstrations 


of  hostility.  A  key  to  the  state  of  popular  feeling  on  the  subject 
may  perhaps  be  found  in  the  votes  of  the  town  representative. 
To  the  last  Scottish  parliament,  sitting  at  Edinburgh,  1706-7, 
the  commissioner  for  the  burgh  was  Archibald  Shiels,  who 
consistently  voted  throughout  against  all  the  articles  of  the 
treaty  of  Union,  and  against  the  measure  as  a  whole.  The 
commissioners  for  the  shire  were  William  Morrison  of  Preston- 
grange,  and  Alexander  Horsburgh  of  that  Ilk,  who  voted  for 
nearly  all  the  articles,  and  also  for  the  passing  of  the  act.  To 
the  first  parliament  of  Great  Britain,  assembled  at  Westminster, 
the  district  of  burghs  to  which  Peebles  belonged  sent  Mungo 
Graham  of  Gorthy  as  representative,  while  at  the  same  time  the 
county  deputed  William  Morrison  of  Prestongrange,  one  of  its 
former  members. 

The  accession  of  the  Hanover  family  in  1714  was  received  with 
so  much  placidity  in  Peeblesshire,  that  we  hear  of  only  one 
dissentient,  Mr  William  Russell,  minister  of  Stobo.  Russell's 
history  has  some  droll  features.  Son  of  the  Laird  of  Kingseat, 
he,  in  early  life,  figures  as  a  member  of  the  troop  of  horse 
convened  in  Tweeddale  by  royal  authority,  1685,  to  suppress 
rebellion  in  the  west — a  corps  which,  if  we  are  to  believe  the 
panegyric  of  Pennecuik,  performed  prodigies  of  valour,  being 

4  All  of  them  proof  'gainst  desperate  alarms, 

Train'd  up  by  old  Dalyell  in  feats  of  arms. 

Young  Kingseat  was  a  Tory  trooper  then, 
Now  Stobo  stipend  makes  him  Whig  again. ' 

Not  altogether  a  Whig,  as  is  shewn  by  the  Presbytery  Records  ; 
for  though  sobered  down  and  transformed  into  a  minister,  Rus- 
sell's old  cavalier  spirit  gets  roused  on  being  required  to  pray  for 
'  His  Majesty,  King  George.'  Without  absolutely  appearing  dis- 
loyal, he  contrived  for  some  years  to  pray  concerning  the  king  in 
a  shuffling  fashion,  which  passed  for  what  the  law  demanded  ;  but 
the  trick  being  at  length  discovered,  he  was  summoned  before  the 
Presbytery  to  explain  his  very  extraordinary  conduct.  In  answer 
to  the  charge,  Russell  said  that  he  always  prayed  for  King 


George,  and  that  though  it  had  not  been  in  express  words,  it 
was  in  such  a  way  that  his  congregation  could  not  fail  to  under- 
stand that  King  George  was  meant.  This  explanation  being 
considered  unsatisfactory,  he  was  suspended  for  two  months. 
Mr  Stephen  Paton  having  gone  to  Stobo,  in  obedience  to  an 
order  of  the  Synod,  to  intimate  the  deposition,  he  was  encountered 
by  a  mob  of  women,  who  told  him  that  no  one  should  preach 
there  but  their  minister.  There  now  ensues  a  succession  of  efforts 
on  the  part  of  the  Presbytery  to  bring  the  enraged  parishioners 
to  reason,  but  without  avail.  The  church-door  is  kept  locked, 
the  bell  cannot  be  rung,  and  ministers  deputed  to  preach  can 
do  so  only  in  the  churchyard.  At  last,  when  things  are  at  the 
worst,  the  old  trooper  discreetly  relents,  comes  under  some  sort 
of  obedience,  prays  distinctly  for  King  George,  and  is  repon.e.$, 
which  makes  everything  end  comfortably.  '.  ;:-,•;  ,",.,,.  ,hoorl 

Some  events  connected  with  the  burgh  which  occurred;  afteY 
this  period,  may  be  grouped  together  as  follows,  along  with 
casual  remarks. 

1725. — This  year,  the  burgh  purchased  Frank's  Croft,  a  pretty  piece  of 
ground  situated  on  a  height  overlooking  the  Tweed,  so  called,  probably, 
from  having  at  one  time  belonged  to  John  Frank,  town-treasurer^  The 
purchase-money  was  two  thousand  merks  [^in,  2$.  $J..  sterling], rrt- 
B.  R.  In  making  this  desirable  acquisition,  Peebles  must  have, improved 
somewhat  since  1713,  when  the  Convention  of  Royal  Burghs ,  granted  it 
'ane  hundred  pounds  Scots  money,  of  present  supply,  in  respect  of  the 
low  condition  of  the  said  burgh.' — C.  R.  '.:,iJi  uii.i  :,il) 

The  town  continues  to  be  frequented  and  troubled  by  gipsies,  beggars, 
and  vagabonds  of  all  sorts;  and  there  is  a  fresh  attempt  to  get  rjd.iOf 
them.  1728,  Jan.  14. — The  magistrates  and  council,  considering,  tijat 
several  of  the  heritors  and  inhabitants  within  this  burgh  have,  of  late 
years,  contrair  to  several  acts  of  council,  taken  upon  them  to  sett  houses, 
and  given  settled  residence  to  several  cripples,  sturdy  beggars,  and  other 
vagrants,  persons  who  can  give  no  account  of  themselves;  some  of 
which  have  taken  upon  them  to  make  use  of  counterfeit  testimonials 
from  the  ministers  and  elders  of  this  paroch ;  and  others  of  them  going 
together  without  legal  marriage,  living  promiscuously,  and  thereby  giving 
bad  examples  in  this  place ;  neither  can  they  give  any  reasonable 
account  of  their  way  of  living,  but  by  villainy  and  oppression  in  the 
countries  where  they  travel.  Wherefore,  they  strictly  prohibit  and 


discharge  any  of  the  heritors  or  inhabitants  within  this  burgh  to  sett 
any  houses  hereafter  to  any  vagrant  people,  under  the  pain  of  ten  pounds 
Scots,  toties  quoties  [for  each  offence]  ;  and  they  declare  that  all  who  have 
formerly  sett  shall  be  punished,  conform  to  the  said  acts  of  council, 
without  mitigation ;  and  ordains  thir  presents  to  be  intimate  by  tuck  of 
drum,  that  none  may  pretend  ignorance. — B,  R.  This  edict  necessarily 
proved  unavailing.  In  proportion  as  houses  were  deserted  by  a 
respectable  class  of  inhabitants,  there  was  more  accommodation  for 
paupers — a  result  painfully  observable  in  all  Scottish  towns,  where  the 
buildings,  from  their  extreme  durability,  long  outlast  their  original 
purpose,  and,  presenting  a  ready  and  loathsome  harbourage,  obviously 
encourage  the  growth  of  an  abject  and  dangerous  population. 

1728,  Nov.  19. — The  magistrates  and  council,  considering  that  Mar- 
garet Wilson  was  banished  this  burgh  for  stealing  clothes  from  her 
mother  and  others,  and  selling  them  for  drink,  and  that  she  has  returned, 
using  the  same  bad  practices,  and  last  Sabbath  was  guilty  of  drunken- 
ness, cursing  and  abusing  her  mother,  which  is  hurtful  to  the  neighbour- 
hood, and  not  to  be  suffered ;  wherefore  they  banish  her  this  burgh  in 
time  coming,  and  discharge  her  to  be  seen  therein  hereafter,  certifying 
her  if  she  be,  she  will  be  scourged  and  brunt  [branded  with  a  hot  iron]. — 
B.  R.  This  practice  of  banishing  from  the  town  proved  an  exceedingly 
unwise  method  of  punishment,  for  it  only  caused  the  offenders  to  seek 
refuge  in  other  towns,  from  which  being  expelled  in  turn,  they  at 
length  became  reckless  and  incorrigible  malefactors.  We  see  by  the 
records  of  several  parishes,  that  worthless  characters,  who  had  from 
time  to  time  been  banished  from  Peebles,  are  ordered  to  be  '  expelled 
the  bounds.' 

The  venerable  fallacy  of  '  keeping  everything  to  ourselves,'  continues 
to  be  cherished  as  a  rule  of  trade.  1726,  May  2. — The  council  discharge 
the  inhabitants  to  sell  any  muck  except  to  burgesses,  and  no  one  is  on 
any  account  to  sell  the  same  to  country  people,  to  the  great  prejudice  of 
the  people  of  the  town. — B.  R,  Pride  is  still  taken  in  the  commons. 
1727,  May  22. — The  haill  burgesses  and  inhabitants,  horse  and  foot, 
are  ordained  to  attend  the  magistrates  and  council  on  the  first  Monday 
of  June  in  their  best  equipages,  for  riding  the  commonties  of  Eshiels, 
Glentress,  and  Hamiltone. — B.  R.  An  immense  gathering  of  the 
lieges  takes  place  accordingly  on  the  day  named,  the  provost  and 
magistrates  on  horseback  in  front,  preceded  by  the  town-piper,  who 
does  his  best  on  the  occasion. 

Hitherto,  the  inhabitants  had  depended  for  water  on  pump-wells,  or 
the  streams  which  environed  the  town,  and  they  could  scarcely  fail  to 
be  flattered  with  the  announcement,  that  a  gentleman  in  Selkirkshire 
took  so  warm  an  interest  in  their  affairs,  that  he  proposed  to  be  at  the 


cost  of  leading  in  water  for  a  public  fountain.  1728,  Nov.  28.  John 
Murray  of  Philiphaugh,  Esq.,  out  of  regard,  love,  and  favour  for  Peebles, 
gives  the  sum  of  a  hundred  pounds  sterling  money,  for  bringing  in  the 
water  of  St  Mungo's  Well  to  the  burgh. — B.  R.  1729,  June  16.  The 
magistrates  and  council  agree  with  John  Scott,  plumber  in  Edinburgh, 
to  bring  in  the  water  of  St  Mungo's  Well  in  pipes  to  a  part  of  the  burgh 
conveniently  situated  for  a  public  well. — B.  R.  The  place  pitched  on 
was  in  the  High  Street,  opposite  the  town-mansion  of  the  Earl  of  March, 
and  the  fountain  here  established,  deriving  its  name  from  the  original, 
on  the  face  of  the  Venlaw,  was  long  known  as  St  Mungo's  Well.  Why 
Murray  of  Philiphaugh  should  have  taken  such  an  extreme  interest  in 
Peebles,  may  seem  surprising.  Perhaps  the  circumstance  is  explained 
by  the  fact,  that  he  had  lately  been  appointed  member  for  the  district 
of  burghs,  and  looked  forward  to  being  reappointed,  which  he  was  in 


Of  the  prizes  to  be  run  for  at  the  Beltane  festival,  there  are  numerous 
entries  in  the  town's  books.  In  1728,  the  first  plate  to  be  run  for  is  to 
be  'a  china  bowl,  value  fifteen  guineas;'  and  the  second  'a  quaigh,  or 
drinking-cup,  value  four  guineas.'  In  1731,  the  first  prize  is  to  be  a 
piece  of  silver  plate,  value  fifteen  pounds  sterling ;  the  second  prize,  a 
plate  worth  five  pounds — both  to  be  run  for  in  heats,  and  no  horses  to 
be  debarred. — B.  R,  The  entries,  of  which  these  are  specimens,  are  all 
followed  with  an  order  '  to  advertise  the  plates  timeously  in  the  Edin- 
burgh prints.' — 1750,  June  30.  The  gentlemen  of  the  county  having 
agreed  to  give  a  purse  of  thirty  guineas  to  be  run  for  on  the  first  week 
of  August,  the  town  resolves  to  give  a  purse  of  fifteen  guineas  to  be  run 
for  at  the  same  time.' — B.  R. 

The  town  gets  out  of  temper  about  the  scandalous  state  of  the  church- 
yard. 1733,  Sept  8. — The  magistrates  and  council,  considering  the 
great  expense  the  town  and  inhabitants  had  been  at  in  building  a  stone 
and  lime  dyke  round  the  old  church-yard,  for  defending  their  monuments 
upon  their  dead ;  and  that  Mr  John  Hay,  minister,  had  this  summer 
put  his  horses  in  the  said  church-yard,  whereby  several  of  their  monu- 
ments are  wronged.  Wherefore,  the  council  do  discharge  the  said 
Mr  John  Hay  to  put  any  of  his  horses,  kine,  or  sheep  in  their  burial- 
place  hereafter,  or  any  other  persons  whatsoever,  under  the  penalty  of 
ten  pounds  Scots ;  and  in  the  meantime  allow  him  to  cut  or  shear  the 
grass  for  the  use  of  his  beasts.  And  the  council  grants  warrant  to  the 
treasurer  to  employ  tradesmen  to  repair  and  mend  the  church-yard  yett 
and  dyke,  and  to  snedd  the  young  trees  growing  therein. — B.  R. 

1734,  May  13.  The  council  appoint  Provost  Gibson  to  be  their 
commissioner  in  electing  a  member  of  parliament  for  the  district  of 
burghs,  and  recommend  him  to  vote  for  the  Honourable  James 


Carmichael,  son  to  the  Earl  of  Hyndford. — 1735,  Sept.  10.  The  provost 
reported  to  the  council  that  the  Honourable  James  Carmichael  was 
duly  elected  member,  and  that,  in  token  of  his  gratitude  and  thankfulness 
for  the  favour  shewn  and  done  him,  and  as  a  mark  of  his  kindness 
and  regard,  he  had  delivered  into  the  hands  of  the  provost  a  handsome 
compliment  and  donation  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  sterling  for 
the  use  of  the  burgh  of  Peebles;  whereupon  all  with  one  voice  declared 
that  the  said  donation  should  be  employed  in  paying  the  town  debts. — 

1735,  Aug.  5. — Proposals  are  made  to  the  council  by  Alexander  Sheriff 
for  Charles  Cockburn,  advocate,  as  to  the  establishing  of  a  woollen  manu- 
factory in  Peebles.  The  yarn  proposed  is  to  be  very  coarse  and  round, 
near  the  double  of  covering  yarn.  And  Mr  Sheriff  is  content  for  a  trial 
to  give  good,  careful,  diligent  spinsters  four  shillings  Scots  [4^.  sterling] 
per  day,  from  six  in  the  morning  till  eight  at  night ;  and  he  is  content  to 
give  spinsters  who  are  not  so  able  (now  when  harvest  is  approaching, 
and  women  will  be  scarce)  what  the  farmers  shall  think  fit,  conform  to 
their  work.  Secondly,  after  trial,  Mr  Sheriff  is  content  when  it  shall  be 
sufficiently  known  what  a  stone  of  this  wool  may  be  spun  for,  to  give  out 
stones  of  wool  to  their  own  houses,  both  to  strong  and  weak,  and  take  a 
sufficient  time  for  it ;  but  no  time  is  to  be  lost.  Mr  Sheriff  is  so  well 
satisfied  with  the  situation  of  this  place,  that  he  inclines  rather  to  sett  up 
here  than  in  any  other,  if  he  can  be  near  as  well  served  and  encou- 
raged. The  council  having  heard  the  above  proposals  read,  they  declare 
they  are  well  satisfied  and  pleased  therewith,  and  appoint  certain  of 
their  number  to  search  their  respective  quarters  for  persons  that  may  be 
fit  for  spinning  the  wool,  and  give  a  list  of  them  to  the  provost,  that  he 
may  send  for  them,  and  acquaint  them  of  the  encouragement  they  shall 
have,  that  they  may  go  to  Mr  Sheriff,  and  he  will  give  them  a  pattern 
how  to  spin  the  said  wool,  and  give  them  other  proper  directions,  that 
so  good  an  undertaking  may  prove  successful  and  beneficial  to  the 
present  undertakers,  and  also  redound  to  the  advantage  of  the  inhabitants 
and  tradesmen  of  the  place. — B.  R.  This  pompous  flourish  came  to 
nothing,  and  so  likewise,  in  1740,  did  an  attempt  of  the  Scottish 
Trustees  for  Manufactures  to  plant  a  Woollen  Factory  at  the  foot  of  the 
green.  From  this  latter  abortive  effort,  is  derived  the  term  '  Factory 
Stream,'  at  this  part  of  the  Tweed.  Peebles  had  hitherto  some  small 
domestic  manufactures  of  woollens,  and  also  a  waulk-mill,  the  expansion 
of  which,  by  proper  enterprise  and  encouragement,  would  have  been  the 
more  successful  line  of  policy. 

Aug.  1 8. — William  Forrester,  for  his  pains  in  ringing  the  five  and 
eight  hours'  bell  since  February  last,  to  get  half-a-crown,  and  he  is  to 
ring  her  till  Michaelmas. — B.  R. 


The  '  handsome  compliment  and  donation '  from  the  Honourable 
James  Carmichael,  in  acknowledgment  of  being  returned  member, 
having  been  put  to  the  excellent  purpose  of  paying  off  debt,  leaves  the 
finances  in  still  an  unsatisfactory  condition.  1735,  Nov.  24. — The 
treasurer  represents  to  the  council  that  he  needs  money  to  sustain 
the  town's  credit,  in  consequence  of  the  outlays  for  '  reparations ; '  the 
council  find  the  representations  reasonable,  and  that  there  is  'a  plain 
necessity  for  borrowing  five  hundred  merks.' — B.  R. 

1738,  April  7. — Following  the  practice  in  Edinburgh,  complaints 
betwixt  burgess  and  burgess  shall  be  heard  by  the  bailies  every  Wed- 
nesday and  Friday,  at  ringing  of  the  court-bell. — B.  R. 

In  January  1740,  an  exceedingly  severe  frost,  which  extended  over 
the  northern  part  of  Europe,  was  followed  by  a  failure  of  the  crops.  In 
Scotland,  there  was  a  most  distressing  dearth,  leading  to  riots  in  Edin- 
burgh and  other  places.  The  people  of  Peebles  suffered  in  common 
with  others. — 1740,  July  16.  The  council  considering  the  scarcity  and 
dearth  of  the  meal,  they,  for  relief  of  the  poor,  resolve  to  buy  Barns's 
two  years  farm-meal  which  he  has  by  him,  at  twenty  pounds  Scots  per 
load,  and  ordain  their  treasurer  to  sell  it  out  to  the  poor,  not  above  two 
pecks  at  once  to  one  person,  at  eleven  shillings  per  peck. — B.  R. — 1741, 
Feb.  13.  Considering  that  there  had  been  and  still  is  a  great  dearth, 
the  magistrates  and  council  see  it  their  duty  to  buy  victual,  and  sell  it  at 
cost-price  to  the  poor,  for  which  purpose  they  agree  to  borrow  a 
thousand  merks  Scots  from  Walter  Laidlaw,  tenant  in  Willanslee. — 
B.  R. — 1744,  June  22.  The  council  consider  it  proper  to  denounce  the 
pernicious  practice  of  smuggling  French  brandy  and  tea,  and  resolve 
that,  whatsoever  burgess  brings  these  smuggled  wares  into  the  town, 
shall  lose  his  freedom. — B,  R. 

Peebles  had  not  been  troubled  by  the  rebellion  of  1715,  but  in 
1 745  it  received  a  visit  from  a  detachment  of  the  forces  of  Prince 
Charles  Edward  on  the  route  to  England.  While  the  Prince 
proceeded  with  the  main  division  of  the  army  by  way  of  Lauder 
and  Kelso,  a  second  party  assumed  a  middle  course  by  Gala- 
shiels,  Selkirk,  and  Hawick,  and  the  western  division,  under 
command  of  Lord  George  Murray,  took  the  road  from  Edinburgh 
to  Peebles,  intending  to  proceed  to  Carlisle  by  Moffat.  This 
division,  which  had  charge  of  the  cannon  and  most  of  the  baggage, 
arrived  at  Peebles  on  the  evening  of  Saturday,  the  2d  of 
November.  'The  sun  was  setting  as  the  first  lines  devolved 
from  the  hills  which  environ  the  place  on  every  side,  and  throwing 



back  a  thousand  threatening  glances  from  the  arms  of  the  moving 
band,  caused  alarm  among  the  peaceful  townsmen,  who  had  only 
heard  enough  about  the  insurrection  and  its  agents  to  make 
them  fear  the  worst  from  the  visit  Contrary  to  expectation,  the 
mountaineers  neither  attempted  to  cut  the  throats  nor  to  violate 
the  property  of  the  inhabitants.  They  let  it  be  known,  wherever 
they  went,  that  they  required  certain  acts  of  obedience  on 
the  part  of  the  people ;  and  that  if  these  were  not  willingly 
rendered,  they  had  the  will,  as  they  possessed  the  power,  of 
using  force.  The  leader  demanded  payment  of  the  cess,  on  pain 
of  military  execution  ;  and  little  parties,  calling  upon  various 
householders  within  and  without  the  town,  requested  such 
supplies  of  provisions  as  could  be  properly  spared,  with  the 
alternative  of  having  their  houses  given  up  to  plunder.  But 
scarcely  any  incivility  was  ever  shewn  in  the  outset.'1  According 
to  local  tradition,  the  Highlanders  encamped  in  a  field  west  of 
Hay  Lodge,  and  on  the  Sunday,  during  their  stay,  caused  the 
town-mills  to  be  set  agoing  to  produce  meal  for  their  march. 
After  spending  a  few  days  in  the  place,  they  departed  by  way  of 
Tweedsmuir  to  Moffat ;  certain  horses  and  carts  belonging  to 
David  Grieve,  tenant  in  Jedderfield,  being  pressed  into  their 
service  to  help  them  on  the  way. 

The  gentlemen  of  the  shire  and  burgh  authorities,  made  a 
somewhat  tardy  movement  to  raise  men  for  the  protection  of  the 

1746,  Jan.  8. — Provost  Forrester  acquainted  the  council  that  the 
gentlemen  of  the  shire  met  yesterday,  and  entered  into  a  resolution  to 
raise  as  many  men  as  possible  for  the  defence  of  the  country  against  the 
present  rebellion,  and  are  to  pay  each  man  eightpence  per  day  that 
is  not  able  to  subsist  or  maintain  himself.  And  for  raising  men  without 
loss  of  time,  they  have  wrote  to  the  respective  ministers  of  this  shire 
to  converse  with  their  parochiners,  and  advise  them  to  enlist  as  volun- 
teers for  defence  of  their  native  country,  and  to  be  here  Friday  next. 
He  thought  proper  that  the  council  should  go  into  the  like  resolution 
for  raising  men  in  this  burgh.  The  council  unanimously  approve  of  the 
same,  and  they  empower  and  authorise  the  magistrates  forthwith  to 

1  History  of  the  Rebellion  0/1745-6.     By  R.  Chambers. 


publish,  by  tuck  of  drum,  to  all  the  inhabitants  within  the  burgh,  that,  as 
they  are  hopeful,  they  will  readily  take  arms  for  the  defence  of  this 
place  and  country,  they  will  repair  to  the  magistrates,  and  enlist  as 
volunteers,  and  sign  an  association  for  that  end ;  and  such  as  they  judge 
are  not  in  ability  to  maintain  themselves,  they  shall  have  eightpence  per 
day  from  their  mustering.  Whoever  have  arms,  to  bring  them  with 
them;  and  what  arms  that  shall  be  wanting,  the  council  recommend 
it  to  the  magistrates  to  procure  them  in  the  best  manner  they  can. 

At  this  juncture,  Peeblesshire,  like  other  counties  in  Scotland, 
was  still  under  the  jurisdiction  of  high  and  deputy  sheriffs,  whose 
offices  were  almost  hereditary  in  certain  families,  irrespective  of 
the  qualification  for  positions  of  such  trust  and  importance.  The 
high-sheriff  was  usually  a  nobleman,  in  whom  the  office  was 
purely  honorary,  and  the  real  sheriff  was  the  deputy,  but  his  duty 
consisted  chiefly  in  executing  writs  and  exacting  the  feudal  land- 
dues  for  the  crown,  in  which  latter  capacity  he  was  a  species  of 
tax-collector.  We  have  seen  how  imperfectly  these  irresponsible 
sheriffs  executed  their  trust,  and  it  was  time  that  they  should  be 
set  aside.  Grouped  along  with  heritable  regalities  and  other 
varieties  of  old  jurisdictions  remaining  in  the  possession  of  private 
individuals,  these  offices  were  now  by  a  wise  policy  swept  away  as 
incompatible  with  the  safety  of  the  community.  No  reform  that 
could  be  named  was  of  more  value  than  this ;  and  as  the  full 
complement  of  the  act  of  Union,  was  cheaply  purchased  at  the 
price  paid  by  the  country  ;  for  the  entire  sum  awarded  for  the 
heritable  jurisdictions  in  Scotland  was  not  more  than  about 
.£152,000.  Of  this  sum,  Peeblesshire  had  but  a  small  share. 
Lord  William  Douglas,  Earl  of  March,  claimed  for  the  shire  of 
Tweeddale  £4000,  and  as  lord  of  regality  and  justiciary  of  New- 
lands  and  Linton,  ^1500.  He  was  allowed  for  the  sheriffdom 
£3200,  and  for  the  regality  of  Newlands  and  Linton,  ^"218,  4^.  $d. 
Dickson  of  Kilbucho  claimed  for  privilege  of  regality  in  his 
barony  of  Kilbucho,  as  part  of  the  regality  of  Dalkeith,  £1000; 
and  the  curators  of  Murray  of  Stanhope  claimed,  as  bailie  and 
justiciar  of  Stobo,  formerly  connected  with  the  archbishopric  of 
Glasgow,  £1000.  Both  claims  were  rejected,  probably  on  the 


ground,  that  regalities  could  not  be  split  and  claimed  for  in  two 

According  to  the  act  of  1747  (20  Geo.  II.  c.  53),  hereditary 
sheriffships  were  to  cease  on  the  2  5th  of  March  1748.  The  office 
of  sheriff  was  then  to  merge  in  the  crown,  which  was  empowered 
to  appoint  a  sheriff-depute  for  each  county,  who  was  to  be  an 
advocate  of  at  least  three  years'  standing ;  and  the  depute  was 
authorised  to  appoint  a  substitute,  as  a  resident  county  magistrate. 
We  thus  glance  at  arrangements  which  initiated  a  new  era  in 
every  part  of  Scotland.  In  Peeblesshire,  there  ensues  a  marked 
social  change.  Men  skilled  in  the  law,  and  exempt  from  local 
prejudices,  hold  regular  courts  for  civil  and  criminal  procedure ; 
the  lairds  drop  into  their  proper  position  of  ordinary  subjects 
amenable  to  the  judge  ordinary ;  and  justices  of  peace  exercise 
in  future  a  subordinate  class  of  duties.  The  first  sheriff-depute 
under  the  act,  1747,  was  Mr  James  Montgomery,  a  young  and 
successful  advocate,  second  son  of  Mr  William  Montgomery  of 
Macbie  Hill,  from  whom  may  be  dated  the  rise  of  the  Mont- 
gomeries  in  the  county. 

Whatever  was  the  number  of  men  raised  in  the  town  and 
county  in  1746,  their  services  never  came  into  use,  and  the 
rebellion  passed  off,  as  far  as  Peeblesshire  was  concerned,  with 
nothing  more  than  some  damage  to  two  of  the  county  gentry. 
The  greatest  sufferer,  as  regards  material  interests,  was  Sir  David 
Murray  of  Stanhope,  who  unhappily  attached  himself  to  the 
cause  of  the  Stewarts.  Taken  prisoner,  he  was  sentenced  to 
death,  but  was  discharged  from  custody  on  condition  of  trans- 
porting himself  for  life.  His  estates  were  also  sequestrated, 
and  were  sold,  by  authority  of  the  Court  of  Session,  in  1767. 
Stanhope  was  purchased  by  Mr  James  Montgomery,  who,  from 
being  sheriff  of  Peeblesshire,  rose  to  be  Lord  Chief  Baron  of  the 
Exchequer  of  Scotland,  and  to  have  his  long  and  fortunate  career 
crowned  by  a  baronetcy.  The  property  is  now  in  possession 
of  his  grandson.  The  other  person  who  had  reason  to  feel  the 
error  into  which  he  had  fallen  by  his  accession  to  the  rebellion, 
was  Murray  of  Broughton,  who  acted  as  secretary  to  Prince 



Charles,  and  to   save  life  and  property,  became  the  apostate, 
whom  men  of  all  shades  of  opinion  held  justly  in  detestation. 

From  shortly  after  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth  century,  a 
marked  change  takes  place  in  the  public  affairs  of  Peeblesshire. 
Old  usages  begin  to  disappear,  and  new  fashions  come  into 
vogue  ;  the  county  gets  opened  up  by  roads  ;  fields  are  enclosed  ; 
gentlemen's  seats  are  erected ;  plantations  decorate  the  hitherto 
bare  landscape ;  and  besides  a  high-class  farming,  manufac- 
turing industry  takes  root  and  flourishes — the  last  stage  of  all 
being  the  perforation  of  the  county  by  railways,  which,  them- 
selves a  revolution,  offer  a  strange  contrast  with  the  times  when 
the  first  Duke  of  Queensberry  visited  Peebles  in  his  state- 
carriage,  preceded  by  two  running  footmen. 


ACCORDING  to  Pennecuik,  rural  affairs  in  Tweeddale  had 
made  a  marked  advance  in  1715.  In  the  northern 
division  of  the  county,  portions  of  heathy  morass  had  been 
drained,  reducing,  he  says,  '  many  of  those  black  and  barren 
heaths  to  fertility  and  a  fairer  complexion.'  The  mosses, 
however,  were  not  considered  to  be  altogether  objectionable  ;  for 
as  the  inhabitants  depended  chiefly  on  peat  for  fuel,  the  circum- 
stance of  being  near  a  peat-moss  was  advertised  as  a  recom- 
mendation in  selling  estates.  At  this  period,  the  produce  of  the 
arable  lands  consisted  of  '  rough  bear  and  oats,  few  pease,  and 
less  wheat.'  Artificial  grasses  had  been  sown  to  an  inconsiderable 
extent ;  but  green  crops  were  unknown,  and  it  was  the  practice 
to  kill  and  salt  cattle  at  the  beginning  of  winter,  for  want  of  any 
sufficient  means  of  feeding  them.  The  country  was  unenclosed 
and  bare.  '  The  greatest  want,'  says  Pennecuik,  '  is  timber. 
Little  planting  is  to  be  seen  in  Tweeddale,  except  it  be  some 
few  bushes  of  trees  about  the  houses  of  the  gentry  ;  and  not  one 
wood  worth  naming  in  all  this  open  and  windy  country.  So  that 
this  unhappy  want  of  foresight  in  their  forefathers,  necessitates 
them  to  be  obliged  to  the  sheriffdom  of  Lanrick  for  most  part  of 
the  timber  necessary  for  their  houses  and  husbandry.  Yet  there 
begins  to  appear  amongst  the  young  nobility  and  gentry  of  this 
place,  a  general  genius  for  planting ;  which,  in  a  few  years,  will 


turn  to  the  ornament  as  well  as  the  advantage  of  this  cold  and 
naked  country,  where  all  sorts  of  forest-trees  will  prosper  well 
enough  upon  due  pains  and  care,  as  it  is  credible  this  has  been 
a  woody  country  of  old,  whereof  there  remain  to  this  day  many 
probable  appearances.'  As  regards  trees,  it  should  be  added  that, 
at  this  time,  there  must  have  been,  in  various  places,  thriving 
sycamores  and  ashes  ;  for,  of  the  last  in  particular,  there  are  now 
many  fine  specimens,  evidently  the  growth  of  centuries.  Birch, 
too,  must  have  existed  in  considerable  patches,  as  is  evidenced 
by  numerous  remains,  and  also  from  the  name  '  Birks'  being  not 
uncommon  as  the  name  of  a  place. 

Pennecuik  gives  the  rural  population  credit  for  being  industrious 
and  careful,  'yet  something  wilful,  stubborn,  and  tenacious  of 
old  customs.  There  are  amongst  them,  that  will  not  suffer  the 
wrack  to  be  taken  out  of  their  land,  because  (say  they)  it  keeps 
the  corn  warm,  nor  sow  their  bear-seed,  be  the  season  wet  or 
dry,  till  the  first  week  of  May  be  over,  which  they  call  Rnnchie 
Week,  nor  plant  trees  or  hedges,  for  wronging  the  undergrowth, 
and  sheltering  the  birds  of  the  air  to  destroy  their  corn  ;  neither 
will  they  trench  and  ditch  a  piece  of  useless  boggie  ground,  for 
fear  of  the  loss  of  five  or  six  feet  of  grass,  for  a  far  greater 
increase  ;  which,  however,  with  a  custom  they  have  of  overlaying 
the  ground,  which  they  term  full  plenishing,  makes  their  cattle 
generally  lean,  little,  and  give  a  mean  price  in  a  market.' 

About  the  period  of  the  Union,  the  pasturing  of  sheep  had 
already  begun  to  be  a  considerable  branch  of  husbandry.  In 
the  work  of  Blaew,  1654,  Tweeddale,  it  will  be  remembered, 
is  renowned  for  its  fine  sheep-pasturage,  and  Pennecuik  dwells 
complacently  on  the  same  theme.  The  county,  he  says,  'is 
stored  with  such  numbers  of  sheep,  that  in  the  Lintoun  mercats, 
which  are  kept  every  Wednesday  during  the  months  of  June 
and  July,  there  have  frequently  been  seen  9000  in  the  customer's 
roll,  and  most  of  all  these  sold  and  vented  in  one  day.'  He 
adds,  apparently  from  Blaew:  'The  sheep  of  this  country  are 
but  small,  yet  very  sweet  and  delicious,  and  live  to  a  greater 
age  than  elsewhere,  by  reason  of  the  salubrity  of  the  air,  and 


wholesome  dry  feeding ;  and  are,  indeed,  the  greatest  merchant- 
commodity  that  brings  money  to  this  place,  with  their  product 
of  lambs,  wool,  skins,  butter,  and  cheese.' 

As  early  as  1730,  the  county  was  startled  by  the  extensive 
draining  and  planting  operations  of  Archibald,  Earl  of  Islay, 
afterwards  third  Duke  of  Argyle,  on  a  tract  of  mossy  land  which 
he  appropriately  named  the  Whim.  About  the  same  period,  the 
adjoining  property  of  La  Mancha  was  subjected  to  a  variety  of 
improvements  by  Thomas,  eighth  Earl  of  Dundonald ;  while  in 
the  parish  of  Stobo,  considerable  improvements  were  effected  by 
Sir  Alexander  Murray  of  Stanhope,  who,  between  1732  and 
1740,  wrote  some  useful  tracts  on  agriculture.  Immediately 
afterwards,  a  taste  for  enclosing  and  beautifying  grounds  was 
extended  and  confirmed  by  Sir  James  Naesmyth  of  Dawick,  Mr 
Burnett  of  Barns,  Dr  James  Hay  of  Haystoun,  Mr  Carmichael  of 
Skirling,  and  other  proprietors.  Armstrong,  writing  in  177$. 
refers  to  'the  spirit  of  improvement  lately  diffused'  in  the 
county,  but  finds  cause  for  blame  in  the  aggregation  of  small 
farms,  to  which  'may  be  attributed  the  gradual  depopulation, 
and  frequent  emigration  to  a  more  unfavourable  clime  ;  for  the 
smaller  tenant,  feeling  the  weight  of  an  increasing  rent,  with  the 
advanced  price  of  domestics,  is  necessitated,  unwillingly,  to  seek 
relief  in  the  bosom  of  a  distant  desart,  or  submit  to  the  galling 
yoke  of  servitude  amongst  those  individuals  who  deprived  him  of 
an  hereditary  consequence.'  From  this  complaint,  we  learn  that 
husbandry,  on  a  scale  calculated  to  bring  out  the  full  resources 
of  the  district,  had  fairly  begun,  greatly  to  the  advantage  of 
all  parties,  the  public  included.  The  short-sighted  views  of 
Armstrong  perhaps  met  with  some  response,  but  the  inhabitants 
were  too  peacefully  disposed  to  offer  any  distinct  remonstrance 
against  a  plainly  demonstrable  public  improvement ;  and  gradu- 
ally, though  at  first  by  slow  stages,  lands  were  thrown  into  farms 
of  a  size  worth  the  attention  of  men  possessing  the  requisite  skill 
and  capital  to  work  them. 

The  progress  which  the  rural  affairs  of  the  county  made  in 
the  latter  part   of  the  eighteenth  century,  is  described   in    the 


well-known  work  of  the  Rev.  Charles  Findlater,  1802.  While 
admitting  the  good  that  had  been  done  by  several  public-spirited 
proprietors  to  stimulate  improvement,  by  giving  leases  of  proper 
duration,  Findlater  mentions  that  the  advanced  or  modern 
husbandry  was  introduced  by  the  example  of  professional 
farmers.  Dairy  husbandry,  he  says,  was  first  carried  on  advan- 
tageously by  Mr  Thomas  Stevenson,  on  the  farm  of  Wester 
Deanshouses.  Next,  in  the  list  of  improvers  was  '  Mr  George 
Dalziel,  innkeeper,  first  at  the  village  of  Linton,  and  afterwards 
at  Noblehouse ;  he  was  the  first  farmer  that  sowed  turnip  in  the 
open  fields  ;  I  believe  he  had  a  field  of  perhaps  two  or  three 
acres  at  Linton,  so  early  as  1763  or  1764.  I  believe  he  might 
also  be  the  first  who  cultivated  potatoes  on  a  large  scale,  by  the 
plough.  Dalziel  made  trials  both  of  turnip  and  artificial  grasses ; 
I  believe,  however,  that  neither  were  at  all  adopted  into  a  regular 
system  of  rotation  of  cropping,  till  introduced  in  this  form  by 
M'Dougal.'  This  last-named  person  is,  in  reality,  the  father  of 
the  new  husbandry  in  Tweeddale.  Findlater  does  not  hesitate 
to  ascribe  subsequent  improvements  '  to  the  example  set  by  Mr 
James  M'Dougal,  farmer  in  the  village  of  Linton,  originally 
from  the  neighbourhood  of  Kelso,  and  trained  under  the  cele- 
brated Dawson  at  Frogden.  Being  possessed  of  a  small  capital, 
but  his  ideas  of  improving  farming;  inferring  a  much  more  liberal 
outlay  of  capital  upon  equal  terms  of  land,  than  what  corres- 
ponded with  received  usages,  he  entered  upon  lease  to  a  farm  at 
Linton,  in  the  year  1778.'  Here,  M'Dougal  initiated  the  Norfolk 
rotation  of  cropping,  with  plentiful  liming  and  manuring ;  and 
the  success  which,  to  the  surprise  of  every  one,  attended  his 
operations,  at  length  caused  the  neighbouring  farmers  to  become 
proselytes  to  his  system.  It  will  not  escape  notice  that  all  the 
improvements  just  referred  to,  were  in  the  northern  section  of  the 
county,  in  the  parishes  of  Linton  and  Newlands,  which  thus  took 
the  lead  of  districts  more  immediately  in  the  valley  of  the 

At  the  time  when  Findlater  wrote,  agriculture  had  made  such 
progress,  that  the  old  system  of  small   farms  was  dying  out 


Only  a  few  specimens  remained  to  enable  an  estimate  to  be 
made  of  the  comparatively  miserable  style  of  living  with  which 
such  a  system  was  identified.  The  farmhouse  was  only  a  low 
thatched  cottage,  consisting  of  seldom  more  than  two  apartments 
with  a  clay  floor ;  and  no  divisions  by  partitions  except  those 
effected  by  the  close  wooden  bedsteads.  The  adjoining  buildings 
for  cows  and  horses  were  also  thatched,  and  usually  in  a  rude 
dilapidated  condition  ;  while  all  about  the  doors  was  a  scene  of 
dirt  and  confusion.  Those  labourers  who  did  not  sit  at  table 
with  the  farmer,  occupied  thatched  huts  of  a  still  smaller  size, 
containing  two  close  beds  to  form  a  cross  partition,  which,  says 
Findlater,  'divided  the  space  occupied  by  the  family  from  a 
space  of  four  feet  from  the  gable  at  which  you  enter,  where 
stands  the  cow  behind  one  of  the  beds,  with  her  tail  to  the  door 
of  the  house.'  Such  were  the  ordinary  buildings  on  nearly  all 
the  farms  in  Peeblesshire,  till  the  era  of  improvement  last 
century — examples  of  which  are  now  to  be  seen  only  in  some  of 
the  West  Highlands,  and  other  unimproved  parts  of  Scotland. 

The  class  of  farm-buildings  which  superseded  these  ancient 
tenements  were  regularly  built  with  stone  and  lime,  and  slated. 
The  dwelling  of  the  farmer  consisted  of  a  house  of  two  stories, 
having  a  front  with  three  windows  above  and  two  below,  with  a 
door  in  the  middle.  Entering  opposite  the  stair,  on  one  hand 
was  the  kitchen,  and  on  the  other  the  sitting-room  of  the  family  ; 
above,  were  several  small  apartments.  For  economy  of  space, 
the  sitting-room  had  a  bed  concealed  by  doors — a  very  common 
provision  in  old  Peeblesshire  houses,  whether  in  the  country  or 
town.  Influenced  by  modern  notions,  the  farmer,  with  his 
family,  now  sat  apart  from  the  servants  ;  the  mistress  of  the 
establishment,  however,  continuing  to  take  a  considerable  hand 
in  churning,  making  butter  and  cheese,  and  other  departments  of 
household  economy.  As  regards  style  of  living,  there  was  no 
great  advance  ;  plain  fare,  with  few  luxuries,  being  still  the 
general  rule.  Gigs  being  not  yet  in  fashion,  except  among  the 
gentry,  the  farmer  and  his  wife  still  rode  double  on  horseback, 
when  going  to  church,  or  to  town  on  a  market-day.  In  every 


farmhouse,  the  small  spinning-wheel  for  flax,  and  the  larger 
wheel  for  wool,  were  articles  in  regular  use  by  all  the  females 
in  the  establishment  ;  the  produce  being  transformed  into 
linens,  blankets,  and  plaids,  by  one  of  the  weavers  of  '  customer- 
work  '  in  Peebles. 

As  elsewhere  in  Scotland,  the  grain  was  anciently  winnowed 
on  airy  knolls  known  as  sheeling  laws  or  hills — hence  '  Shilling- 
law,'  as  a  name  of  several  places — but  this  practice  was  generally 
laid  aside  in  Tweeddale  about  1750,  or  thirteen  years  after 
fanners  had  been  invented  by  Andrew  Craigie,  a  retired  and 
ingenious  farmer  in  Roxburghshire.  The  earliest  notice  we  have 
of  fanners  in  Peeblesshire  is  in  a  deed,  purporting  to  be  a  mutual 
agreement  between  nine  farmers  in  the  parish  of  Newlands,  to 
pay  for  and  employ  '  a  pair  of  mill-fanners,'  procured  by  'James 
Brydine,  tenant  in  Flemington  Mill.'  This  curious  private  docu- 
ment is  dated  January  17,  1746.  The  fanners  cost  £30  Scots,  or 
£2,  los.  sterling  ;  and  the  circumstance  of  nine  farmers  uniting 
to  pay  out  this  trifling  sum,  affords  evidence  of  the  still  poor 
condition  of  the  Tweeddale  tenantry  at  the  middle  of  the 
eighteenth  century. 

The  flail,  except  in  a  humble  way,  disappeared  previous  to 
1802,  when,  according  to  Findlater,  there  were  eighteen  thrash- 
ing-mills going  by  water,  and  twenty-four  driven  by  two  horses 
each.  At  this  time,  he  says,  there  were  thirteen  proprietors  in  the 
county  drawing  an  annual  rent  of  about  £100  a.  year ;  twenty- 
four,  from  ;£ioo  to  .£400;  fifteen,  from  £400  to  .£1000;  and  eight, 
from  ;£iooo  to  £4000 — making  a  total  of  sixty  proprietors,  exclu- 
sive of  those  drawing  a  smaller  class  of  rents.  Altogether,  the 
gross  annual  rental  of  the  county  was,  he  adds,  about  £26,000  ; 
but  this  did  not  express  the  entire  value  exacted,  for  some  farmers 
paid  partly  in  kain  fowls,  and  partly  in  the  carriage  of  articles, 
commutable  at  a  money  value;  and  from  the  greater  number, 
multures  were  taken  at  the  mills  to  which  tenants  were  thirled  to 
bring  their  grain  to  be  ground.  This  odious  practice  of  thirlage, 
however,  gradually  disappeared  early  in  the  present  century  ; 
an  act  of  parliament  having  been  passed  in  1799,  authorising 


all  farmers  to  commute  their  thirlage.  Of  the  money  rental 
above  stated,  by  far  the  larger  proportion  was  from  pastoral 
farms  ;  spread  over  the  whole  county,  it  amounted  to  consider* 
ably  under  half-a-crown  per  English  acre. 

The  second  ortransitionary  stage  of  rural  affairs  in  Tweeddale 
now  depicted,  was  marked  by  an  exceptional  peculiarity  of 
tenure,  which  is  allowed  to  have  had  a  singularly  stimulating 
effect  The  extensive  Neidpath  estates,  held  in  strict  entail,  were 
let  by  the  Earl  of  March,  about  1788,  on  leases  for  fifty-seven 
years,  being  three  times  nineteen,  the  usual  duration.  The 
tenants  had  the  farms  at  a  small  rent,  in  consideration  of  giving 
fines  or  grassums  at  entry.  Insured  leases  for  so  long  a  period, 
at  an  insignificant  annual  rent,  a  spirited  style  of  improvement 
immediately  commenced.  The  tenants,  feeling  themselves  almost 
in  the  position  of  proprietors,  built  houses,  cleared  the  land  of 
stones,  erected  dykes  as  enclosures,  planted  trees  for  shelter,  and 
in  point  of  husbandry,  took  the  lead  in  the  county.  Of  those 
who  signalised  themselves  in  this  manner,  Findlater  points  to 
Mr  James  Murray,  in  Newlands  parish  ;  Mr  Gray,  in  Lyne  ;  Mr 
Charles  Alexander,  in  Easter  Happrew,  Stobo  ;  and  Mr  Robert 
Symington,  in  Edston,  parish  of  Peebles.  The  long  leases  of  the 
Neidpath  estates  were  ultimately  reduced,  about  1821,  by  the 
House  of  Lords,  as  contrary  to  the  rights  of  the  next  heir  of 
entail  ;  but  adequate  compensation  was  made  to  the  lessees. 

In  the  present  day,  rural  management  in  Tweeddale  has 
reached  a  third  or  highly  advanced  stage,  corresponding  to  what 
has  been  attained  in  the  other  improved  parts  of  Scotland  ;  the 
main  difference  being  that,  as  the  county  is  hilly,  and  well  adapted 
for  pasture,  the  husbandry  is  generally  of  a  mixed  kind,  embracing 
sheep  and  arable  farming — an  arrangement  which  evokes  close 
and  varied  attention,  and  possesses  the  advantage  of  placing  the 
farmer,  in  a  great  measure,  above  casual  rises  and  falls  in  the 
market ;  for  when  agricultural  produce  is  doivn,  sheep  and  wool 
may  be  up,  or  vice  versd. 

Much  of  the  land  in  Peeblesshire  being  a  light  gravelly  soil,  or 
lying  at  slopes  which  admit  of  rapid  drainage,  it  is  a  common 


remark  that  the  county  can  receive  a  good  deal  of  rain  without 
serious  damage  to  the  agriculturist,  which  is  fortunate  ;  for  with 
so  many  hills,  showery  weather  is  common  ;  and,  according  to 
meteorological  observation,  the  quantity  of  rain  which  ordinarily 
falls  is  about  29  inches  per  annum.  There  is,  however,  not  a 
little  stiff  clay-land  in  the  county,  and  in  some  places  mossy  soils, 
which  could  dispense  with  the  moisture  required  so  copiously  in 
other  quarters. 

We  have  already  alluded  to  the  first  and  second  stage  of  farm- 
house architecture  in  Peeblesshire,  and  it  only  remains  for  us 
to  say,  that  the  third  stage  now  reached  places  the  dwellings 
of  the  farmers  on  a  level  with  the  best  class  of  villas  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  large  towns.  Nor  is  it  unreasonable  that  such  should 
generally  be  the  case,  for,  in  most  instances,  the  modern  farmer 
is  a  person  of  superior  attainments  and  tastes — one  who,  entering 
on  his  lease  with  a  capital  of  several  thousand  pounds,  is  entitled 
to  the  respectful  consideration  of  his  landlord.  The  farm- 
steadings  of  the  more  improved  class,  usually  consist  of  a  quad- 
rangular range  of  buildings,  stone  and  slated ;  comprehending 
stables,  cow-houses,  feeding-yards  and  sheds,  thrashing-mill, 
barn,  and  other  offices.  The  sheaves  of  grain,  on  being  collected 
from  the  fields,  are  built  into  round  stacks  in  the  open  air,  in  a 
yard  adjoining  the  thrashing-mill.  Some  steadings  excel  in  their 
feeding-sheds  and  straw-yards,  where  oxen  are  fattened  for  the 
butcher  during  winter,  and  an  abundance  of  manure  produced  for 
the  fields  next  to  be  subjected  to  the  plough.  At  a  moderate 
distance  from  the  steadings,  is  the  row  of  hinds'  houses,  consisting 
ordinarily  of  four  or  five  cottages.  On  some  properties,  these 
dwellings  are  still  on  a  far  from  satisfactory  scale  of  accommoda- 
tion ;  but  on  others  they  are  sufficient  in  point  of  size  and  general 

The  size  of  farms  is  very  various.  Rents  are  generally  from 
£250  to  £800  ;  but  there  are  some  instances  of  farms  exceeding 
the  last-named  rent,  and  even  reaching  £1000  and  upwards. 
There  are  few  now  remaining  of  the  very  small  farms  which  were 
once  so  numerous,  although  here  and  there,  in  every  part  of  the 


county,  one  may  still  be  found  ;  and  in  the  north-western  part, 
they  are  more  numerous  than  elsewhere,  whilst  there  also  the 
rents  of  many  of  the  farms  are  between  £100  and  £250. 

The  soil  not  being  very  rich,  the  rent  of  land  is  seldom  more 
than  32J.  or  33^.  per  (imperial)  acre.  Fields  in  the  immediate 
vicinity  of  a  town  or  village  are,  however,  on  account  of  local 
convenience,  sometimes  let  at  a  rent  as  high  as  £4  per  acre. 
The  land  used  exclusively  for  sheep-pasture  is  generally  of  very 
different  value  in  different  parts  of  the  same  farm,  owing  to 
differences  of  soil,  altitude,  inclination,  and  other  circumstances. 
There  is  much  land  in  the  county  which  is  not  worth  a  shilling 
an  acre  of  annual  rent.  Sheep-pastures  are  not  generally  let 
according  to  a  calculation  based  on  the  number  of  acres,  but 
rather  on  the  number  of  sheep  which  the  farm  is  supposed 
capable  of  feeding ;  the  kind  of  sheep  being  also  taken  into 
account,  and  their  probable  value  or  productiveness,  so  that  the 
rent  varies  from  $s.  to  ios.,  and  even  12s.  per  sheep  ;  as  the 
produce  in  wool,  mutton,  and  lamb  is  much  greater  for  each 
sheep  on  good  land  in  a  good  situation,  than  on  poor  land  in  a 
high  and  cold  situation. 

Land  is  now  generally  let  at  a  fixed  money-rent,  although  the 
old  practice  of  letting  it  at  a  rent  varying  according  to  the  fiar 
price  of  grain  still  partially  prevails.  Farms  are,  however, 
seldom  let  entirely  at  a  grain-rent.  In  some  instances,  the  rent 
of  the  arable  land  is  a  certain  number  of  bolls  of  grain,  either 
oats  or  barley,  whilst,  for  the  pastoral  part  of  the  farm,  a  fixed 
money-rent  is  paid. 

Leases  are  generally  for  nineteen  years  ;  rarely  now  for  twenty- 
one,  or  for  any  other  number  of  years,  excepting  as  regards 
sheep-farms,  which,  in  many  cases,  are  let  for  periods  of  from 
nine  to  fifteen  years.  Very  little  land  is  let  otherwise  than  on 
lease  for  a  term  of  years,  except  fields  let  singly  for  pasture, 
every  year,  and  with  regard  to  which  no  permanent  occupancy 
is  contemplated.  Here,  as  in  other  parts  of  Scotland,  sub-letting 
is  not  allowed.  In  many  cases,  the  landlord  pays  for  drainage 
(the  tenant  supplying  the  carriage  of  tiles  and  other  materials), 


fencing,  and  other  permanent  improvements,  the  tenant  some- 
times paying  interest  till  the  end  of  his  lease  on  the  money 
so  expended.  Generally,  the  landlord  gives  the  farm,  with 
farmhouse  and  offices,  to  the  tenant  in  good  condition,  and 
the  tenant  is  bound  to  give  it  back  in  good  condition  at  the 
expiration  of  the  lease,  allowance  being  only  made  for  the 
natural  wear  and  decay  of  such  a  period.  In  cases  where  a 
farm  newly  improved,  requires  to  be  put  in  a  proper  condition 
for  an  incoming  tenant,  it  is  not  unusual  for  the  landlord  to 
expend  as  much  as  £2000  on  a  new  steading  and  other  things 
essentially  necessary ;  and  it  is  only  where  some  particular 
improvements  seem  likely  to  remunerate  the  tenant  during  the 
currency  of  his  lease,  that  he  makes  them  at  his  own  expense. 
The  expense  of  drainage  is  sometimes  shared  by  the  landlord 
and  tenant,  the  proportions  varying,  and  being  stipulated  in  the 
lease.  The  late  Earl  of  Traquair  paid  for  the  cutting  of  the 
drains  on  his  estate  and  for  the  drain-tiles  ;  the  tenants  brought 
the  tiles  to  the  spot,  and  filled  the  drains,  the  landlord's  share 
being  thus  much  heavier  than  that  of  the  tenant.  As  regards 
cropping,  though  in  practice  there  is  scarcely  any  restriction,  it 
is  usually  stipulated  that  there  shall  be  a  rotation  of  five  years : 
(l.)  oats,  after  lea  (pasture) ;  (2.)  potatoes,  turnips,  or  other  green 
crop ;  (3.)  barley,  oats,  or  wheat ;  (4.)  grass,  cut  for  hay,  or  used 
as  pasture ;  (5.)  grass  used  as  pasture.  High  land  is  very 
generally  kept  three  years  in  crop,  and  three  or  more  years  in 
grass  ;  low  land  in  the  valleys  or  dales,  three  years  in  crop,  and 
two  in  grass. 

The  introduction  of  guano  and  other  new  manures  has  wrought 
a  great  change  in  the  farming  of  this  county.  This  has,  indeed, 
been  the  case  generally  in  all  districts  of  Scotland  in  which 
agriculture  is  in  a  flourishing  condition,  but  nowhere  more 
conspicuously  than  in  Peeblesshire ;  as  the  steepness  of  many 
of  the  hills  prevented  the  carting  of  dung  to  lands  which  were 
thus  unfitted  for  the  plough,  but  which  became  arable  so  soon 
as  light  and  easily  portable  manures  were  known.  The  conse- 
quence has  been,  that  fields  have  been  enclosed  and  brought 


under  cultivation  in  what  was  formerly  hill-pasture,  and  these 
fields,  even  at  very  considerable  altitudes,  have  produced  good 
crops ;  whilst,  when  sown  down  with  grasses  and  clover,  they 
become  far  more  valuable  in  pasture  than  before,  insomuch  that, 
where  formerly  not  more  than  one  sheep  per  acre  was  kept, 
two,  or  even  three,  are  now  kept,  and  each  of  these  yielding 
in  the  various  kinds  of  produce  much  more  than  the  one 
sheep  did  before.  But  this  great  increase  of  produce  is  far 
from  being  all  clear  gain  to  the  farmer  or  the  landlord, 
as  the  sheep  now  kept  require  expensive  winter-feeding; 
whilst  the  sheep  formerly  kept  were  left  to  depend  entirely, 
except  during  long  continued  snow-storms,  on  the  hill-pasture. 
There  are  farms  in  the  county  in  which  two-thirds  of  the  present 
arable  land  have  been  recently  reclaimed  from  hill-pasture,  and 
this  process  of  improvement  is  rapidly  going  on.  The  land  thus 
rendered  capable  of  supporting  a  much  increased  number  of 
sheep,  requires  to  be  again  broken  up  and  manured  after  a  few 
years.  It  would  be  interesting  to  know  the  quantity  of  guano 
and  the  other  new  manures  now  used  in  the  county,  but  there 
are  no  means  of  ascertaining  it.  How  great  it  is,  may  in 
some  measure  be  inferred  from  the  fact,  that  one  farmer  near 
Peebles,  occupying  a  large  farm,  but  not  the  very  largest, 
spends  about  £300  a  year  in  the  purchase  of  these  manures. 
Lime,  also,  especially  at  the  commencement  of  leases,  continues 
to  be  applied  in  proper  quantities,  wherever  it  appears  desirable. 

In  late  years,  drains  have  been  cut  much  deeper  than 
formerly ;  their  depth  is  now  seldom,  if  ever,  less  than  three 
feet,  often  three  and  a-half  or  four  feet ;  and  drain-tiles  are 
almost  always  used  instead  of  stones.  Hill-land,  on  being 
brought  under  cultivation,  is  always  drained  to  the  depth  of  at 
least  three  feet.  Much  of  the  land  formerly  drained  has  been 
drained  anew,  to  reach  a  greater  depth.  The  drainage  of  land  in 
Peeblesshire,  although  begun  so  long  ago,  is  still  very  far  from 
being  completed,  and  is  now  making  rapid  progress  from  year 
to  year. 

Furrow-drainage  was  introduced  at  the  same  time  as  in  other 


parts  of  Scotland,  with  the  same  greatly  beneficial  results,  and 
became  pretty  general  about  twenty-five  years  ago.  Sheep-drains 
have  also  been  very  generally  cut  on  the  hills.  It  may  perhaps 
be  necessary  to  explain  to  those  not  much  acquainted  with 
pastoral  districts,  that  these  are  open  drains,  generally  about 
fifteen  inches  deep,  and  eighteen  inches  wide,  branching  from  a 
main  channel,  and  intended  to  dry  the  surface  of  mountain- 
pastures  where  it  is  supposed  that  a  more  expensive  system 
of  drainage  would  not  be  remunerative.  They  have  proved 
eminently  useful  in  improving  the  pasture,  and  preventing  rot 
and  other  diseases  of  sheep.  These  drains  require  to  be  renewed 
after  intervals  of  from  eight  to  twelve  years. 

The  old  practice  of  cropping  arable  land  until  the  soil  was 
exhausted,  and  then  laying  it  down  in  grass,  has  long  ago 
been  superseded  by  other  methods.  Unproductive  fallowing, 
generally  practised  to  a  comparatively  recent  date,  is  no  longer 
indispensable,  and  has  given  place  to  the  cultivation  of  green 
crops.  The  farmer  was  formerly  obliged,  for  want  of  manure, 
to  leave  a  considerable  portion  of  his  land  every  year  in  fallow, 
or  ploughed,  but  without  a  crop,  which  he  now  generally  sows 
with  turnips,  availing  himself  of  the  new  manures ;  a  great 
portion  of  the  turnips  being  consumed  on  the  ground  by  sheep, 
and  the  land  thus  again  manured  so  as  to  be  ready  for  another 
crop.  Flakes  (wooden  hurdles)  and  nets  are  employed  for 
movable  fences,  so  that  the  sheep  are  confined  to  a  small  portion 
of  the  field  at  a  time,  and  are  not  permitted  to  roam  over  the 
whole  of  it,  in  which  case  more  would  be  destroyed  than  eaten. 
The  dung  and  refuse  of  the  turnips  are  sometimes  covered  with 
earth  by  means  of  a  grubber  drawn  by  two  horses,  immediately 
after  the  sheep  are  removed.  This  is  an  easy  process  on  light, 
but  much  more  difficult  on  heavy,  soils.  It  may  be  doubted  if 
the  covering  in  general  takes  place  so  soon  as  it  would,  if  the 
farmers  fully  appreciated  the  loss  sustained  in  the  ammoniacal 
portion  of  the  dung  whilst  exposed  to  the  air,  and  the  benefit  of 
the  vegetable  refuse  rotting  in  the  soil  rather  than  in  the  air. 

Some  further  attention  on  this  point,  and  still  more  to  the  too 



frequent  waste  of  liquid  manure  in  farm-yards,  seems  still  to  be 

In  consequence  of  the  extension  of  turnip-cultivation  on  the 
hills,  farms  which  were  formerly  stocked  every  year  with  black- 
faced  wether  lambs,  are  now  stocked  with  Cheviot  or  with  black- 
faced  ewes ;  and  many  sheep  from  these  hill-farms,  after  being 
brought  to  lower  grounds,  and  fed  on  turnips  for  a  time,  are 
sent  to  market  at  two  years  old.  The  cast  ewes,  also,  of  hill- 
farms — that  is,  those  which  it  is  not  thought  expedient  to  keep 
any  longer  for  stock — are  conveyed  to  lower  grounds,  to  produce 
lambs  before  they  themselves  go  to  the  butcher  ;  rams  of  the 
Leicester  breed  being  in  this  case  generally  preferred.  Half-bred 
lambs  are  brought  to  market  when  fourteen  or  fifteen  months 
old,  when,  if  properly  cared  for  during  winter,  they  weigh  from 
fourteen  to  twenty  pounds  per  quarter. 

In  consequence  of  the  disastrous  losses  sustained  by  the  sheep- 
farmers  in  the  winter  of  1859-1860,  some  have  returned  to  the 
hardier  black-faced  breed,  who  had  previously  stocked  their 
farms  with  Cheviots.  In  the  inclement  season  referred  to,  where 
whins  (furze  or  gorse)  grew  on  the  farms,  the  sheep  did  not 
suffer  as  elsewhere ;  the  young  shoots  of  the  whin  affording  them 
food  which  is  at  all  times  acceptable,  but  of  which  the  value  was 
then  particularly  felt  by  the  farmer. 

Oxen  are  chiefly  of  the  Ayrshire  and  short-horn  breeds,  or 
crosses  more  or  less  nearly  allied  to  the  short-horn.  Where  dairy 
produce  is  the  object,  which  is  generally  sweet  or  fresh  butter 
and  skimmed -milk  cheese,  Ayrshire  cows  are  preferred ;  but  for 
stock  rearing,  either  for  grazing  or  feeding,  which  is  now  in 
greater  favour,  the  short-horn  crosses  are  more  frequently  kept. 
The  dairy  management  is  not  generally  equal  to  that  of  many 
other  parts  of  the  country.  A  dairy  at  Winkston  alone  deserves 
special  commendation. 

The  farm-horses  are  almost  all  of  the  Clydesdale  breed  ; 
and  many  are  reared  in  the  county. 

Swine  are  very  generally  kept  by  farmers,  but  no  particular 
care  is  taken  respecting  their  feeding.  Many  swine  are  also  kept 


by  farm- servants,  cottagers,  and  villagers,  but  in  sties  which  are 
in  almost  all  cases  too  small,  nor  is  their  cleanliness  sufficiently 
attended  to.  No  case  within  our  knowledge,  however,  has 
occurred  of  measly  pork.  Within  these  few  years,  a  large  bacon 
and  ham-curing  establishment  has  been  carried  on  successfully 
at  Broughton,  for  an  account  of  which  we  refer  to  our  notice  of 
that  parish. 

All  kinds  of  poultry  common  in  Scotland  are  kept  in  Peebles- 
shire,  and  find  a  ready  sale  to  cadgers,  who  with  carts  regularly 
traverse  the  county,  buying  up  various  articles  of  rural  produce, 
and  bringing  things  in  return  from  Edinburgh.  The  poultry, 
however,  is  seldom  properly  fed,  and  in  this  department  of 
husbandry  there  is  great  room  for  improvement.  The  annual 
prize  exhibitions  of  poultry  at  Peebles,  recently  set  on  foot,  may 
perhaps  effect  a  remedy. 

Bees  are  kept  in  almost  all  parts  of  the  county,  but  chiefly  in 
the  lower  parts,  whence  their  skeps  (hives)  are  removed  to  the 
higher  grounds  in  autumn,  when  the  heath  is  in  flower.  The 
result  is  very  fine  heather-honey,  which  readily  finds  a  market. 

The  principal  corn-crops  are  barley  and  oats.  Wheat  is  grown 
in  the  richer  low  grounds,  but  it  is  considered  a  precarious  crop, 
and  not  in  favour  with  the  farmers.  Barley  is  extensively  grown  ; 
and  the  common  English  variety  is  very  generally  preferred. 
Chevalier  barley,  though  superior  in  quality,  and  longer  in  the 
straw,  has  the  disadvantage  of  being  ten  days  longer  in 
ripening ;  it  is  also  reckoned  to  be  more  severe  on  the  ground, 
and  more  injurious  to  the  clovers  which  have  been  sown-  with  it. 
Many  varieties  of  oats  are  cultivated,  including  the  Early  Angus, 
Sandy,  Barbachlaw,  Berlie,  Hopeton,  Tartarian,  Potato,  and 
Providence  oats,  a  recently  introduced  and  favourite  kind.  Rye 
is  scarcely  known  as  a  crop. 

Beans  are  not  extensively  cultivated,  and  chiefly  for  the 
feeding  of  the  farm-horses,  not  for  sale.  The  kind  generally 
preferred  is  the  common  Horse  Bean,  to  which  both  soil 
and  climate  seem  very  suitable.  Pease  are  less  cultivated  than 
they  were  half  a  century  ago,  partly  owing  to  the  more  extensive 


cultivation  of  turnips,  and  the  almost  universal  use  of  wheaten, 
in  place  of  pease,  bread  ;  and  partly  to  the  great  increase  of 
wood-pigeons,  which  render  their  cultivation  in  many  places 

The  grass  principally  sown  is  ryegrass,  although  mixed  grass- 
seeds  are  also  sown  for  pasture.  Perennial  ryegrass  is  generally 
preferred,  and  in  the  lower  districts,  Italian  ryegrass  is  now  also 
common.  A  mixture  of  perennial  ryegrass  and  Italian  ryegrass 
is  now  indeed  more  frequent  in  the  lower  districts  than  either  of 
them  singly.  But  in  the  upper  or  western  parts  of  the  county, 
the  production  of  ryegrass  seed  for  sale  is  to  some  extent  a 
branch  of  rural  economy,  and  in  this  case,  no  mixture  of  kinds  is 
admitted. — Timothy  Grass  is  sometimes  sown,  but  chiefly  with 
other  grasses,  for  permanent  pasture. 

Red  clover  was  formerly  sown  to  a  greater  extent  than  now. 
On  some  farms,  it  does  not  grow  well,  perhaps  from  having  been 
too  frequently  sown  on  the  same  land,  which  is  then  said  by 
farmers  to  be  *  clover-sick.'  The  kind  of  clover  called  Cowgrass 
(Zigzag  Clover,  or  Meadow  Clover,  Trifolium  medium)  is  often 
sown  in  its  stead,  being  coarser  indeed,  but  also  more  hardy,  and 
springing  again  more  freely  after  having  been  eaten  down  by 
cattle.  White  or  Dutch  Clover,  and  Alsike  Clover,  are  very 
generally  sown  for  pasture  ;  the  former  has  been  long  in  use,  the 
latter  is  of  recent  introduction.  Yellow  Clover — more  correctly 
Medick — (Medicago  lupulina),  is  also  sown,  particularly  where  the 
soil  is  somewhat  damp.  The  seeds  of  grasses  and  clovers  are 
sown  along  with  the  cereal  crop  which  they  are  to  follow. 

The  turnip  crop  is  of  the  greatest  importance  on  almost  every 
Peeblesshire  farm,  a  few  of  the  highest  alone  excepted,  and  even 
to  these,  the  cultivation  of  turnips  is  now  in  course  of  extension. 
Many  varieties  are  cultivated  ;  of  which  the  White  Globe  and 
Grey  Stone  may  be  mentioned  as  large  soft  varieties,  fit  only  for 
early  use  before  the  seventy  of  winter  has  begun,  but  valued  for 
their  productiveness.  The  Aberdeen  Yellow,  and  the  Purple- 
topped  Swedish,  are  the  kinds  generally  preferred  for  winter  and 
spring  use.  As  an  instance  of  the  fitness  of  the  soil  for  the 


growth  of  this  useful  root,  it  may  be  mentioned,  that  on  the  farm 
of  Drummelzier  Haugh,  a  single  acre  produced,  in  1852,  no  less 
than  fifty  tons  weight,  the  manure  being  a  mixture  of  dissolved 
bones  and  guano. 

Mangold-wurzel  has  been  sometimes  grown,  but  the  climate 
of  even  the  earliest  parts  of  Scotland  appears  to  be  little  adapted 
for  its  growth,  and  a  full  or  even  profitable  crop,  as  compared 
with  turnips,  has  been  rarely  obtained  under  the  most  favourable 
conditions.  The  whole  system  of  rural  economy  has  for  a  long 
time  been  so  wrought  up  with  turnip  cultivation,  and  adapted  to 
it,  that  only  a  very  strong  reason  of  apparent  advantage  will 
induce  the  prudent  farmer  to  make  any  change  as  to  this  crop. 
The  apprehension  of  a  great  and  general  failure  of  the  turnip, 
through  the  prevalence  of  anbury  or  finger-and-toe,  has  led  many 
farmers,  however,  to  look  with  some  favour  on  any  proposal  of  a 
probable  substitute.  For  the  last  two  or  three  years,  however, 
turnips  in  this  county  have  not  suffered  so  much  from  finger-and- 
toe  as  formerly.  The  cause  of  this  difference  is  utterly  unknown. 
Some  farms  are  much  more  liable  to  this  disease  of  turnips  than 

Potatoes  are  generally,  but  not  very  extensively,  cultivated  ; 
less  extensively  in  most  parts  of  the  county  than  they  were 
twenty  years  ago,  and  throughout  a  considerable  period  before 
the  years  of  the  potato  failure,  of  which  1846  was  the  worst.  On 
some  farms,  however,  in  the  west  of  the  county,  potatoes  form  a 
greater  part  of  the  crop  than  elsewhere.  The  acknowledged  risk 
of  loss  makes  farmers  in  general  unwilling  to  plant  them  exten- 
sively, notwithstanding  the  large  profits  sometimes  obtained 
by  a  good  crop.  The  varieties  in  general  cultivation  before 
1846  are  now  unknown,  and  more  recent  ones  have  come  in  their 
place,  of  which  those  called  Prince  Regent,  Irish  Rock,  and 
Orkney  Reds  are  at  present  in  highest  repute.  But  many  farmers 
think  it  best  to  cultivate  several  kinds,  and  new  kinds  are  very 
willingly  tried. 

Flax  is  now  very  rarely  sown,  although  in  former  times,  within 
the  memory  of  persons  still  living,  it  was  a  common  crop  ;  being 


cultivated,  however,  only  on  a  small  scale,  and  often  in  patches 
rather  than  in  fields. 

The  cultivation  of  oats  and  of  turnips  is  carried  higher  on  the 
hills  than  that  of  any  other  crop,  except  the  grasses  and  clovers 
sown  for  pasture.  Good  crops  of  oats  are  obtained  at  an  eleva- 
tion of  800  to  1 200  feet  above  the  sea-level,  of  which  instances 
are  presented  at  La  Mancha,  at  Linton,  and  on  the  slopes  of  the 
Lee  Pen,  over  the  village  of  Innerleithen. 

The  fences  employed  in  Peeblesshire  are,  for  the  most  part, 
dry-stone  dykes,  built  in  a  neat  and  durable  manner,  about  four 
feet  six  inches  high.  These  walls  have  several  advantages  : 
they  do  not  occupy  much  space  ;  they  are  completed  at  once  at 
a  moderate  cost ;  the  materials  for  them  are  near  at  hand  ;  and 
they  yield  considerable  shelter.  When  placed  along  the  sides 
of  plantations,  they  receive  no  injury  from  the  drip  of  trees. 
Latterly,  wire-fences  have  come  into  use,  but  they  have  the 
disadvantage  of  yielding  no  shelter.  In  many  places,  hawthorn- 
hedges  are  employed  ;  but  they  seldom  thrive  with  that  equality 
which  is  pleasing  to  the  eye.  Parts  here  and  there  die  out, 
and  requiring  to  be  replaced  with  fresh  thorn  or  beech  plants, 
and  guarded  by  palings,  this  species  of  fence  is  often  costly. 
On  some  properties  which  abound  in  hedges,  a  skilled  hedger 
is  employed  to  keep  them  in  order,  and  clear  out  the  ditches  at 
their  sides. 

As  regards  planting,  which  was  introduced  by  several  improvers 
in  the  course  of  last  century,  it  has  in  many  places  been  over- 
done, far  more  land  being  covered  with  trees  than  was  at  all 
desirable  for  shelter,  ornament,  or  ultimate  profit.  So  great  has 
been  this  mistake,  that  until  the  railways  afforded  means  of 
transit,  well-grown  native  larch  was  nearly  valueless — did  not 
pay  for  the  cutting  and  attention  required  to  be  bestowed  upon 
it.  Now  that  it  can  be  readily  despatched  to  a  market,  steam- 
moved  saw-mills  have  in  several  places  been  set  up,  and  great 
quantities  of  wood  are  in  the  course  of  being  cut,  and  sold  for 
the  making  of  boxes  and  barrels,  and  for  other  purposes.  The 
largest  establishment  of  this  kind  is  that  set  on  foot  at  Peebles 


by  Sir  Adam  Hay,  who  thus  has  brought  into  profitable  use  the 
extensive  woods  planted  by  his  father,  the  late  Sir  John  Hay,  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  town. 

The  most  improved  kinds  of  agricultural  implements  are 
generally  used  in  Peeblesshire.  Almost  every  farm  is  now 
provided  with  a  thrashing-machine,  a  few  of  the  small  farms 
excepted  ;  so  that  the  sound  of  the  flail,  once  so  common,  is 
rarely  heard.  The  thrashing-machines  are  in  most  cases  driven 
by  water,  sometimes  by  horses  ;  but  the  steam-engine  has  begun 
to  be  introduced.  Drills  for  sowing  corn  broad-cast  are  used  on 
many  farms,  but  are  found  less  suitable  for  steep  than  for  level 
ground,  as  on  steep  ground  they  sow  less  regularly,  and  deposit  the 
grain  somewhat  to  one  side.  It  is  hardly  necessary  to  say  that 
turnip  drills  have  been  long  in  universal  use.  Reaping-machines 
have  begun  to  be  introduced,  and  seem  likely  soon  to  be  common. 
In  these  and  some  other  respects,  therefore,  the  farmers  of  Peebles- 
shire  appear  to  be  desirous  to  keep  abreast  of  their  neighbours 
in  Mid-Lothian.  Nevertheless,  it  is  curious  to  note  that  they  are 
still  not  altogether  free  from  the  charge  of  being  '  stubborn, 
and  tenacious  of  old  customs.'  A  remarkable  instance  of  this 
occurred  in  the  case  of  the  railway  from  Peebles  to  Edinburgh, 
which  was  in  operation  several  years  before  the  farmers  generally 
took  advantage  of  the  speedy  and  economical  means  of  convey- 
ance for  cattle,  sheep,  and  grain  which  it  presented.  Having  at 
length,  though  slowly,  discovered  that  railway  transit  is  cheapest, 
it  is  now  embraced  as  an  important  auxiliary  in  all  departments 
of  farming. 

An  advance  in  the  wages  and  condition  generally  of  all  classes 
of  farm-servants  has  in  some  measure  kept  pace  with  an  advance 
in  prices  and  other  improvements.  On  this  subject,  the  Rev. 
William  Welsh,  in  his  account  of  the  parish  of  Drummelzier, 
I793,1  gives  some  useful  particulars.  He  says  :  '  Servants'  wages 
are  high ;  a  man  £6  per  annum  ;  a  maid-servant,  £2  for  the 
summer  half-year,  and  about  2$s.  for  winter.  The  wages  they 
receive  enable  families  to  live  in  a  very  different  manner,  indeed, 

1  Statistical  Account  of  Scotland,  vol.  vii.  p.  154. 


from  the  poor  in  England,  as  they  buy  no  luxuries.  Provisions 
are  double  the  price  they  were  forty  years  ago.  A  lamb  costs 
$s.  or  6s. ;  a  sheep,  if  fat,  us.  or  \2s.  ;  a  fowl,  is.  ;  butter,  lod. 
per  Ib. ;  cheese,  6s.  per  stone.'  We  may  compare  the  wages 
which  were  thought  high  in  1793  with  those  paid  in  1863. 
Farm-servants,  in  regular  employment  for  the  whole  year,  are 
in  almost  all  cases  paid  in  money,  and,  if  married,  partly  in 
kind.  Hinds  or  married  ploughmen  receive  about  .£13  to  £1$ 
in  money  ;  with  a  house  and  garden  ;  a  cow's  '  keep '  through- 
out the  whole  year  (the  farmer  sometimes  also  providing  the 
cow,  but  this  is  not  common)  ;  sixty-five  stones  of  oatmeal  ; 
one  thousand  yards  of  drill  of  potatoes,  which  the  farmer  plants, 
manures,  and  cultivates  as  to  all  the  horse-work,  the  hind  pro- 
viding the  seed ;  the  carting  of  four  tons  of  coals,  the  hind  paying 
for  the  coals  ;  and  a  month's  food  during  harvest.  Some  farmers 
give  from  £18  to  £20  or  £22,  and  do  not  give  a  cow's  keep. 
The  grieve,  or  hind  who  has  charge  of  the  farm-work  in  absence 
of  the  farmer,  receives  a  few  pounds  more  than  the  rest,  some- 
times ^24  in  money. 

Young  men  living  in  the  farmer's  house  receive  ;£i8  or  £20  of 
wages.  The  wages  of  boys  are  very  various  ;  often  ^3  or  £4  per 
half-year.  Female  servants  employed  in  farm-work  receive  £8 
to  ;£io  a  year — often  £$  for  the  summer,  and  £4.  for  the 
winter  half-year — and  live  in  the  farmer's  house.  The  practice 
of  lodging  unmarried  ploughmen  and  other  farm-servants  in 
bothies,  does  not  exist  in  Peeblesshire ;  there  probably  not  being 
a  bothy  in  the  whole  county.  There  exists,  however,  to  a  small 
extent,  what  is  designated  the  Bondager  System,  or,  at  least,  a 
variety  of  it.  It  consists  in  the  hind,  or  married  farm-servant, 
being  obliged  by  the  farmer  to  keep,  as  a  boarder  in  his  cottage, 
a  female  outworker  or  bondager.  According  to  this  arrange- 
ment, the  farmer  agrees  to  pay  the  hind  is.,  or  thereabouts,  a 
day  on  account  of  the  worker,  leaving  the  hind  to  make  such 
bargain  with  her  as  he  thinks  proper.  We  need  hardly  say,  that, 
on  moral  and  social  grounds,  the  system  here  faintly  described, 
is  seriously  objectionable. 


Shepherds  are  sometimes  paid  pretty  much  as  hinds  are, 
receiving  about  £20  a  year  in  money,  a  house  and  garden,  cow's 
keep,  oatmeal,  and  all  the  other  things  already  mentioned  in  the 
case  of  hinds.  But  more  generally,  the  shepherd,  at  least  if 
having  the  care  of  sheep  on  hill-pastures,  has  no  money-wage, 
but  is  allowed  the  pasturage  of  a  certain  number  of  sheep. 
These  are  called  the  shepherd's  pack,  and  feed  along  with  the 
flock  of  his  master,  of  which  it  is  thus  his  own  interest  to  be  very 
careful.  They  are  distinguished  by  a  particular  mark,  and  all 
the  produce  of  them  belongs  to  the  shepherd.  The  number 
varies  on  different  farms  from  twenty  to  fifty,  according  to  the 
kind  of  sheep  kept,  the  quality  of  the  pasture,  and  the  probable 
value  of  the  produce.  Shepherds  generally  prefer  this  mode  of 
remuneration  to  fixed  wages  in  money,  and  their  condition  is 
generally  superior  to  that  of  hinds.  When  a  shepherd  is  not  able 
to  buy  sheep  for  himself,  the  farmer  sometimes  assigns  him  a 
certain  number,  of  which  he  enjoys  the  produce.  When  he  is  able, 
however,  the  shepherd  usually  buys  the  sheep  of  his  predecessor. 
A  shepherd  is  not  entitled  to  dispose  of  his  pack  except  to  his 
successor,  or  to  the  farmer,  as  it  is  very  inconvenient  to  have 
strange  sheep  introduced  into  a  flock.  The  valuing  of  the 
shepherd's  pack  is  therefore  a  common  occurrence  when  a  new 
shepherd  is  appointed.  But  this  is  done  as  seldom  as  possible, 
and  many  shepherds  spend  the  greater  part  of  their  lives  in  the 
same  fording,  daily  traversing,  even  in  old  age,  the  same  hills  with 
which  they  have  been  familiarised  from  their  youth,  and  seeing 
not  only  a  succession  of  farmers  but  of  lairds,  as  the  property 
passes  from  one  to  another,  either  by  inheritance  or  by  sale. 
Unmarried  shepherds,  living  in  the  farmer's  house,  sometimes 
receive  fixed  wages  in  money,  but  sometimes  they  also  have  a 

Linton  market,  spoken  of  by  Pennecuik,  no  longer  exists. 
It  ceased  in  1856 ;  one  which  was  more  convenient  having  been 
then  instituted  at  Lanark.  The  great  fair  at  Melrose  on  the  I2th, 
and  that  at  Lockerbie  on  1 3th  August,  are  the  principal  markets 
for  Cheviot  and  '  half-bred '  lambs  ;  the  two  fairs  of  Lanark,  in 


the  same  month,  for  lambs  of  the  black-faced  breed.  Another 
Melrose  fair,  in  the  end  of  autumn,  is  the  great  market  for  the 
sale  of  Cheviot  ewes,  wethers,  and  small  lambs.  Oxen  are 
generally  purchased  at  Hallow-fair  and  Dalkeith,  but  oxen  are 
not  brought  in  considerable  numbers  into  Peeblesshire.  Cheviot 
and  half-bred  lambs  are  now  sold  to  some  extent  in  Peebles,  at 
monthly  sales  established  some  years  since.  Wool  is  disposed  of 
to  some  extent  at  Peebles  wool-fair  in  July,  which  was  formerly, 
however,  of  greater  importance  than  it  is  now,  the  greater  part 
of  the  wool  produced  in  Peeblesshire  being  sent  to  the  wool-sales 
established  in  Edinburgh.  In  Peebles,  a  prize  cattle-show  takes 
place  annually,  which  is  believed  to  have  a  beneficial  effect ; 
besides  which,  many  persons  in  the  county  compete  at  the  great 
annual  exhibitions  of  the  Highland  and  Agricultural  Society. 

Most  of  the  garden-crops  raised  in  other  parts  of  Scotland  are 
common  also  in  Peeblesshire ;  and  elevated  as  the  district  is 
above  the  level  of  the  sea,  shrubs  and  flowers  of  various 
attractive  kinds  grow  in  perfection.  The  casual  frosts  in  spring 
are  unfortunately  often  fatal  to  the  fruit-blossoms,  by  which 
apples  and  pears  are  a  precarious  crop.  Gooseberries  and 
strawberries  thrive  in  perfection.  The  Horticultural  Societies 
established  some  years  ago  in  the  county  have  tended  to 
improve  gardening  generally,  and  are  well  encouraged. 

The  advance  in  the  value  of  heritable  property  in  Peebles- 
shire is  strikingly  manifest  in  the  Statutory  Valuation  Rolls.  In 
1657,  the  valued  annual  rental  was  only  £4328,  2s.  lod.  sterling. 
According  to  the  valuation  made  in  virtue  of  two  recent  acts, 
17  and  18  Viet  cap.  91,  and  24  and  25  Viet.  cap.  83,  the  rental 
of  the  county  (burgh  and  railways  excluded),  in  1863,  was 
£90,927,  8j.  3^1  This  new  roll  comprehended  41  estates,  yielding 
from  £100  to  £500  per  annum;  35  from  £500  to  £1000;  16 
from  £1000  to  £2000;  and  8  from  £2000  upwards,  of  which  I 
was  £4952,  i  £5740,  and  I  about  £12,000 — total  100,  irre- 
spective of  properties  yielding  less  than  ;£ioo  per  annum.1  This 

1  A  number  of  the  proprietors  of  every  class,  have  either  estates  or  other  sfturces  of 
revenue,  out  of  the  county. 


statement  shews  a  considerable  advance  on  that  made  by 
Findlater,  who  mentions,  on  what  authority  we  know  not,  that 
in  1802  the  annual  gross  rental  of  the  county  was  £26,000. 
Supposing  that  to  be  correct,  the  rental  of  heritable  property 
is  nearly  quadrupled  within  the  present  century;  and  it  is  an 
indubitable  fact,  that  it  is  about  twenty  times  greater  than  it 
was  two  hundred  years  ago.  The  recent  valuation  roll,  however, 
gives  an  inadequate  idea  of  the  outlay  by  proprietors,  or  the 
absolute  market  value  of  estates ;  for  in  many  instances  vast 
sums  have  been  expended  on  mansions,  pleasure-grounds,  and 
permanent  improvements,  which  cannot  be  represented  by  any 
return  in  rental.  Except  in  the  case  of  purely  pastoral  farms, 
which  are  kept  at  little  expense,  the  money  return  for  an  invest- 
ment on  land  in  this,  as  in  perhaps  other  counties  in  Scotland,  is 
usually  not  more  than  about  2\  per  cent. ;  notwithstanding  which, 
estates  are  for  the  most  part  bought  with  avidity — such  being  the 
prevalent  and  increasing  desire  to  acquire  land. 

Peeblesshire,  as  formerly  stated,  can  shew  few  old  families. 
Among  the  hundred  above  enumerated,  we  can  scarcely  reckon 
six  that  reach  back  to  the  seventeenth  century  or  earlier,  and  not 
more  than  fifteen  of  the  present  families  appear  to  have  been 
territorially  distinguished  in  the  county  a  century  ago.  In  short, 
with  few  exceptions,  which  are  diminishing  in  number,  the  land 
proprietory  is  of  comparatively  recent  date,  and  in  the  present  or 
immediately  preceding  generation,  less  or  more  owes  its  position 
to  success  in  professional  pursuits — a  circumstance  which  has 
had  an  important  bearing  on  the  general  interests  of  the  shire  ; 
for  it  is  in  a  great  measure  owing  to  the  liberal  expenditure  of 
successive  new  proprietors,  that  the  marvellous  improvements  of 
the  last  hundred  years  have  been  effected.  From  our  subsequent 
topographical  accounts,  it  will  be  perceived  that  much  of  the 
land  is  owned  by  persons  who  reside  wholly,  or  at  least  a  part  of 
the  year,  in  the  county ;  through  which  means  Peeblesshire 
presents  as  good  a  specimen  of  a  social  fabric  constituted  of  land- 
proprietors,  tenant-farmers,  and  professional  and  labouring  classes, 
all  in  due  proportion,  as  can  anywhere  be  found  in  Great  Britain. 


Long  inert,  except  as  regards  rural  improvement,  the  county 
has  latterly  shewn  a  marked  advance  in  manufacturing  industry, 
chiefly  through  the  enterprise  and  capital  of  strangers  from 
Selkirk  and  Roxburgh  shires,  by  whom  large  sums  have  been 
expended  in  the  establishment  of  mills  fitted  up  with  the  most 
improved  kinds  of  machinery.  The  hitherto  waste  water-power 
of  the  county  has  thus  been  brought  into  use,  leaving,  however, 
infinitely  more  to  be  still  appropriated.  After  repeated  failures, 
the  woollen  manufacture  took  root  first  at  Innerleithen,  and 
more  recently  it  sprung  up  with  great  vigour  at  Walker  Burn,  in 
the  same  parish.  A  manufacture  of  a  similar  kind  has  also  now 
been  successfully  set  on  foot  in  Peebles.  The  value  of  the  goods 
produced  at  the  various  woollen  manufactories  throughout  the 
county  is,  by  competent  authorities,  computed  to  be  at  present 
about  £220,000  per  annum  ;  but  the  amount  is  increasing  so 
rapidly,  that  any  immediate  estimate  is  of  little  moment. 
Australian  or  foreign  wool  is  chiefly  used ;  at  one  mill,  devoted 
to  the  manufacture  of  blankets,  Cheviot  or  home-grown  wool 
is  employed.  Besides  the  above  manufactories,  a  wholesale 
depot  of  the  Tweed  class  of  goods  has  lately  been  established 
on  a  large  scale  at  Peebles,  by  Walter  Thorburn,  a  native  of 
Selkirkshire,  to  whose  energy  and  enterprise  the  town  has  been 
in  various  ways  indebted.  Including  the  transactions  at  this 
last-mentioned  establishment,  it  may  be  safely  averred  that  the 
woollen  trade  in  Peeblesshire  is  in  amount  now  about  three 
times  the  valued  rental  of  the  county.  Some  details  on  the 
subject  are  presented  under  the  head  INNERLEITHEN. 

According  to  Returns  prepared  under  the  direction  of  the  Highland 
and  Agricultural  Society  of  Scotland,  in  1855,  and  presented  to  the 
Board  of  Trade,  the  following  are  the  principal  statistics  connected  with 
the  agriculture  and  farming-stock  of  the  County  : 

Acreage. — 314  occupants,  with  36,436 \  acres  in  crop,  of  which  104! 
acres  are  wheat ;  2027  barley;  9910^  oats ;  i  rye ;  27^  bere ;  19^  beans ; 
182^  pease  ;  227  vetches  ;  5265!  turnips  ;  956  potatoes  ;  4^  mangold  ; 
i  \  carrots  ;  i  cabbage ;  sj  turnip  seed  ;  3  other  crops  ;  83!  bare  fallow  ; 
1 7>6i5 J  grass  and  hay  under  rotation. 

Estimated  Produce. — Wheat,  2822  bushels  ;    barley,  62,330  bushels  ; 


oats,  338,931  bushels;  bere,  1037  bushels;  beans  and  pease,  2841 
bushels  ;  turnips,  70,956  tons  ;  potatoes,  4505  tons. 

Stock. — Horses  for  agricultural  purposes,  above  three  years  old,  975  ; 
ditto,  under  three  years  old,  238  ;  all  other  horses,  199 ;  milk  cows, 
2581 ;  other  cattle,  3037  ;  calves,  1736  ;  sheep  of  all  ages,  for  breeding, 
89,708  ;  sheep  of  all  ages,  for  feeding,  21,470  ;  lambs,  produce  of  1855, 
61,533  ;  swine,  1215.  Total  stock,  182,692. 

Estimated  average  Produce  per  Acre. — Wheat,  26  bushels  3$  pecks  ; 
barley,  30  bushels  3  pecks ;  oats,  34  bushels  2  pecks  ;  bere,  38  bushels 
Q\  pecks;  beans  and  pease,  14  bushels  o£  pecks;  turnips,  13  tons  9^ 
cwts.  ;  potatoes,  4  tons  14^  cwts. 

In  1861,  the  population  of  the  county  was  11,408;  of  whom  5658 
were  males,  and  5750  females,  being  a  proportion  of  101*6  of  females 
to  every  100  males.  The  increase  of  population  in  the  preceding  ten 
years  was  670.  The  number  of  separate  families  in  the  county,  in  1861, 
was  2410.  Houses  inhabited,  1982;  uninhabited,  102;  building,  23. 
The  number  of  children,  from  five  to  fifteen,  at  school  in  the  county,  was 
1682  ;  scholars  of  all  ages,  1849.  At  the  same  time,  there  were  in  the 
county  35  male  teachers,  15  female  teachers,  and  6  governesses;  30 
clergymen  of  various  persuasions  ;  210  male  farmers,  and  9  female 
farmers  •,  47  farm-bailiffs,  25  gamekeepers,  544  agricultural  labourers, 
417  ploughmen,  261  shepherds,  and  339  indoor  farm-servants;  7  builders, 
128  carpenters  and  joiners,  176  masons  and  paviors,  13  slaters, 
22  stone-dykers,  6  plasterers,  26  painters  and  glaziers,  8  plumbers,  and 
2  thatchers.  Throughout  the  county,  there  were  429  female  general 
domestic  servants,  27  housekeepers,  42  cooks,  63  housemaids, 
17  laundry-maids,  and  27  nurses.  The  number  of  police-officers  was  8, 
including  one  head-constable  and  one  sergeant.  Except  during 
close-time  in  the  Tweed,  when  a  large  additional  force  is  employed, 
the  number  of  police  still  remains  the  same ;  and  the  circumstance 
of  a  whole  county  requiring  no  more  functionaries  of  this  sort,  speaks 
well  for  the  orderliness  of  its  population  ;  but  the  truth  is,  grave  crimes 
seldom  occur  in  Peeblesshire.  According  to  a  table  of  convictions  for 
the  year  ending  March  1863,  there  were  41  for  breaches  of  the  Tweed 
Fisheries  Acts,  2  for  poaching,  24  for  assault,  17  for  breaches  of  the 
peace,  and  6  for  wilful  mischief;  these,  with  miscellaneous  offences, 
made  up  a  total  of  137,  of  which  only  7  were  committed  by  females. 
From  the  amount  of  railway  operations  going  on,  the  above  year  is 
considered  to  have  been  exceptional ;  the  ordinary  number  of  convic- 
tions in  the  year  being  from  70  to  80.  In  1859-60,  there  were  only  57. 
Many  of  the  convictions  are  of  vagrants,  or  of  those  who  do  not 
habitually  reside  in  the  county. 

In  1863,  the  death-rate  of  Peeblesshire  was  2-34  in  every  hundred  of 


the  population,  the  general  death-rate  of  Scotland  being,  for  the  same 
year,  2-30.  In  1863,  the  ratio  of  illegitimate  births  in  Peeblesshire  was 
10-3  per  cent,  of  the  whole  births  ;  the  general  ratio  of  illegitimate  births 
in  Scotland,  for  the  same  year,  being  9-9. 

The  county  and  town  of  Peebles  are  united,  under  the  Act  2  and  3 
Will.  IV.  c.  35,  as  a  joint  parliamentary  constituency,  returning  a 
member  to  the  House  of  Commons.  According  to  the  register  made 
up  to  November  1863,  the  number  of  voters,  town  and  county  included, 
was  466,  whereof  97  resided  out  of  the  county. 

Within  the  present  century,  the  whole  of  the  roads  in  the  county  have 
been  improved  and  kept  in  good  condition,  in  virtue  of  certain  turnpike 
and  statute-labour  road  acts,  administered  by  trustees.  Under  the 
current  statutory  arrangement,  the  turnpike  roads  are  divided  into  six 
districts,  with  a  separate  account  for  the  bridge  across  the  Tweed  at 
Innerleithen — all  the  thoroughfares,  bridge  included,  being  so  far 
maintained  by  tolls ;  a  shortcoming  in  which  has  caused  the  districts 
generally  to  get  seriously  into  debt  The  statute-labour  roads  have 
been  upheld  by  a  small  assessment  levied  in  each  parish  as  occasion 
required.  As  the  establishment  of  railways  (see  PEEBLES — BURGH)  will 
almost  annihilate  the  revenue  from  the  tolls,  it  is  proposed  to  reorganise 
the  entire  system  on  the  basis  of  an  assessment  on  property.  A  bill 
prepared  for  the  purpose  has  been  introduced  into  parliament,  and  is 
at  present  under  consideration. 

Some  perplexity  prevails  respecting  the  number  of  parishes  in 
Peeblesshire,  in  consequence  of  several  being  united  for  eccle- 
siastical purposes.  The  actual  number  of  parishes  in  a  legal 
sense,  is  sixteen,  as  follows — Peebles,  Eddleston,  Innerleithen, 
Traquair,  Manor,  Lyne  with  Megget,  Stobo,  Drummelzier, 
Tweedsmuir,  Broughton,  Glenholm,  Kilbucho,  Kirkurd,  Skirling, 
Linton,  and  Newlands.  For  ecclesiastical  purposes,  Broughton, 
Glenholm,  and  part  of  Kilbucho  are  reckoned  as  one ;  the 
remaining  portion  of  Kilbucho  being  ecclesiastically  attached  to 
Culter,  in  Lanarkshire.  Lyne  and  Megget,  though  lying  apart, 
are  united  quoad  omnia,  and  are  therefore  only  one  parish.  The 
result  of  these  arrangements  is,  that  the  number  of  parish 
ministers  in  the  county  is  fourteen.  Parts  of  the  parishes  of 
Innerleithen  and  Traquair  extend  into  Selkirkshire,  a  portion 
of  which  county  is  environed  by  the  parish  of  Peebles.  There 
are  two  suppressed  parishes,  Kailzie  and  Dawick,  each  being 


civilly  as  well  as  ecclesiastically  merged  in  their  respective 
adjoining  parishes.  The  Presbytery  of  Peebles  consists  of  twelve 
out  of  the  fourteen  parish  ministers  ;  the  remaining  two,  namely, 
the  ministers  of  Skirling  and  the  united  parish  of  Broughton, 
Glenholm,  and  Kilbucho,  pertain  to  the  Presbytery  of  Biggar, 
in  Lanarkshire. 

The  number  of  parish  schoolmasters  within  the  county  is 
fifteen ;  for  as  Peebles  is  a  royal  burgh,  the  parish  to  which  it 
belongs  has  no  school  of  the  parochial  kind.  Each  of  the  fifteen 
schoolmasters  is  provided  with  a  dwelling,  a  garden,  and  school- 
house  by  the  heritors,  and  with  an  annual  salary,  payable 
equally  by  the  heritors  and  the  tenants  in  the  respective 
parishes.  The  latest  fixed  table  of  salaries  shews  one  of  ^40, 
five  of  £4$,  seven  of  £$o,  one  of  £$$,  and  one  of  £70 — the 
lowest  being  for  Drummelzier,  and  the  highest  Innerleithen ; 
besides  all  which  salaries,  each  schoolmaster  is  authorised  to 
take  certain  school-fees.  The  schoolmasters  also  derive  con- 
siderable emoluments  by  acting  as  session-clerks,  inspectors  of 
poor,  and  collectors  of  poor-rates,  in  their  respective  parishes. 

The  heritors  (land-proprietors)  of  each  parish  provide  and 
maintain  a  church,  also  a  manse  and  glebe,  along  with  an 
annual  stipend  for  the  minister.  The  manses  are  generally 
good,  being  suitable  as  dwellings  for  a  respectable  family.  The 
stipends  vary  from  £150  to  about  ^300  per  annum,  according  to 
circumstances.  Those  stipends  which  are  mainly  reckoned  in 
grain,  commuted  into  money  payments,  according  to  the  average 
or  fiar  prices,  fluctuate  in  amount ;  but  seldom  has  any  of  them 
been  above  .£400  a  year.  A  considerable  number  of  the  heritors 
in  the  county  are  Episcopalians  ;  a  circumstance  which  makes  no 
difference  in  the  general  desire  to  fulfil  all  proper  obligations 
towards  the  Established  Presbyterian  system — the  harmony  that 
prevails  on  this  point  being,  indeed,  an  agreeable  social  feature  ; 
though  it  may,  at  the  same  time,  be  admitted  to  be  not  a  very 
wholesome  state  of  things,  in  which,  from  convictions,  habits,  and 
feelings,  the  higher  and  other  classes  are  so  greatly  separated 
on  the  score  of  religious  observances. 


PEEBLES  occupies  a  beautiful  situation  on  a  peninsula 
formed  at  the  junction  of  the  Eddleston  Water  with  the 
Tweed.  The  town  consists  of  a  main  or  High  Street,  with 
several  lesser  streets,  and  as  in  old  Scottish  towns  that  had  been 
walled,  a  number  of  diverging  lanes  or  closes.  The  closes  on 
the  north  extend  towards  Eddleston  Water,  while  those  on  the 
south  point  to  the  Tweed.  On  this  southern  side,  the  houses  in 
the  rear  of  the  main  street  possess  a  delightful  exposure,  with 
pretty  little  gardens  basking  in  the  sun,  and  commanding  a 
pleasant  outlook  to  Newby  Hills.  At  the  foot  of  these  gardens 
lies  Tweed-green,  an  open  strip  of  land  bordering  the  river,  with 
some  villas  at  its  eastern  boundary ;  near  which,  looking  west- 
wards towards  the  bridge,  the  above  sketch  has  been  taken.  The 
High  Street,  stretching  from  the  parish  church,  which  occupies 
the  site  of  the  ancient  royal  castle  of  Peebles,  to  the  East  Port, 
is  broad  and  regular,  and  environed  with  neatly-built  houses  of 
two  to  three  stories  in  height.  Overhanging  the  town  on  the 
east,  are  the  two  finely-wooded  hills  of  Venlaw  and  Janet's  Brae. 


Such  is  Peebles  Proper,  or  the  New  Town,  as  it  is  locally  desig- 
nated. A  separate  collection  of  houses,  known  as  the  Old  Town, 
occupies  a  rising-ground  on  the  north  of  Eddleston  Water ;  while 
on  the  elevated  grounds  on  the  south  side  of  the  Tweed,  there 
has,  in  recent  times,  been  built  a  species  of  third  town,  which 
promises  to  exceed  the  others  in  dimensions.  From  the  nature  of 
its  situation,  Peebles  has  been  under  the  necessity  of  connecting 
its  detached  parts  by  bridges,  the  more  imposing  of  which  is 
the  lofty  structure  of  five  arches  across  the  Tweed,  erected,  as 
previously  mentioned,  by  a  long  and  costly  effort,  about  the  end 
of  the  fifteenth  century.  This  bridge,  widened  at  the  expense  of 
the  county  in  1834,  remains  the  great  thoroughfare  to  the  south, 
and  from  it  is  obtained  a  remarkably  fine  view  westwards  to 
Neidpath,  and  eastwards  to  the  towering  peak  of  the  Lee  Pen. 

The  old  town,  as  its  name  imports,  is  the  more  ancient  seat  of 
population.  Here,  probably,  were  pitched  the  Pebyll,  or  tents  of 
the  wandering  Gadeni,  whence  the  town  derives  its  name ;  and 
here,  in  medieval  times,  arose  the  church  of  St  Andrew  and 
the  church  of  the  Holy  Cross.  Until  it  was  extended  by  modern 
additions,  the  old  town  appeared  to  be  only  the  fragment  of 
what  had  at  one  time  covered  a  much  larger  space  of  ground, 
in  which  the  present  roadways  are  presumed  to  mark  the  lines 
of  former  streets.  Perhaps,  the  most  important  street  of  all, 
was  one  connecting  the  two  ecclesiastical  establishments.  A 
roadway,  leading  from  an  open  space  in  the  existing  old  town 
which  had  been  the  original  market-place  of  the  burgh,  to  the 
cross  thoroughfare  between  the  two  churches,  is  now  called  the 
Lidgate,  a  corruption,  it  is  believed,  of  Lych-gait,  signifying  the 
way  by  which  the  dead  were  carried  to  the  churchyard — the 
access  to  which,  in  ancient  times,  was  on  the  east.  By  a  small 
effort  of  imagination,  we  are  therefore  to  contemplate  the  old 
town  as  having  covered  several  fields  behind  the  present 
houses,  and  as  being  the  place  of  residence  of  a  numerous 
body  of  clergy,  including  the  abbot  of  Aberbrothock,  when, 
with  a  retinue  of  monks,  he  visited  the  hostilagium  connected 
with  his  convent. 



Although  a  place  of  some  dignity  until  the  Reformation,  when 
the  ecclesiastical  grandeur  of  Peebles  was  laid  in  ruin,  the  old  town 
occupied  so  insecure  a  position,  that,  for  the  sake  of  better  defence, 
the  burghal  authorities  and  principal  inhabitants  had  at  a  much 
earlier  period  removed  to  the  peninsula  on  the  south,  and  there, 
under  shelter  of  the  royal  castle,  extended  their  dwellings  east- 
wards. It  is  feasible  to  conjecture  that  as  early  as  the  reign  of 
David  I.,  the  new  town,  though  small,  had  assumed  a  regular 
shape,  with  a  castle,  mill,  and  chapel  clustering  together  at  its 
western  extremity.  An  environing  wall  with  gates  was  the 
work  of  a  later  period,  when  the  destructive  wars,  consequent  on 
the  death  of  Alexander  III.,  succeeded  by  disastrous  border 
incursions,  caused  the  burgesses  to  employ  every  available  means 
of  defence,  including  the  erection  of  bastel-houses.  It  is  certain 
that,  from  the  battle  of  Flodden,  1513,  until  about  the  end  of  the 
seventeenth  century,  Peebles  was  surrounded  by  a  wall,  provided 
with  gates  or  ports,  which  were  guarded  as  a  public  duty.  In  the 
work  of  Blaew,  1654,  the  town  is  described  as  having  three 
churches,  three  streets,  and  three  ports,  all  afterwards,  along  with 
some  other  ternary  characteristics,  commemorated  in  the  well- 
known  lines  of  Dr  Pennecuik  : 

'  PEEBLES,  the  metropolis  of  the  shire, 
Six  times  three  praises  doth  from  me  require  ; 
Three  streets,  three  ports,  three  bridges  it  adorn, 
And  three  old  steeples  by  three  churches  borne. 
Three  mills  to  serve  the  town  in  time  of  need, 
On  Peebles  Water  and  the  river  Tweed. 
Their  arms  are  proper,  and  point  forth  their  meaning, 
Three  salmon  fishes  nimbly  counter-swimming. ' 

As  regards  ports,  the  lines  are  not  quite  correct ;  for  there 
were  four  instead  of  three.  The  town-wall  began  at  the  West 
Port,  near  the  castle,  and  ran  eastwards  along  the  north  side 
of  the  green,  but  within  the  present  line  of  garden-boundary, 
till  it  ascended  the  Vennel  to  the  East  Port.  It  then  con- 
tinued by  a  curved  line  to  the  northern  gate  or  port,  where 
commenced  the  northern  entrance  to  the  town,  called  the  North- 
gait,  now  modernised  into  Northgate.  The  wall  now  descended 


on  the  inside  of  Usher's  Wynd  to  the  border  of  Eddleston 
Water.  It  then  went  southwards  along  the  side  of  this  small 
river  till  it  was  connected  with  the  outworks  of  the  castle  ; 
but  about  the  middle  of  this  stretch  stood  a  gate  or  port, 
forming  the  inlet  to  the  Brig-gait,  now  called  Briggate.  Besides 
these  principal  gateways,  there  were  several  of  a  smaller  kind 
for  the  convenience  of  foot-passengers.  One  of  these  was  at 
the  foot  of  St  Michael's  Wynd,  opening  on  Eddleston  Water, 
and  another  communicated  with  the  green.  It  is  learned  from 
the  town  books  that  considerable  portions  of  the  old  wall 
were  not  gone  till  past  the  middle  of  last  century.  Certain 
old  ruinous  tenements  bought  by  the  burgh  in  1752,  in  order 
to  clear  a  site  for  a  town-house  and  school,  are  described  as 
'  comprehending  the  whole  close  and  yards  down  to  the  town- 
wall  upon  Tweed-green.' — B.  R.  In  1758,  the  council 'resolve 
to  take  down  the  West  Port,  and  level  the  port-brae,'  in  order 
to  make  a  more  commodious  entrance  to  the  town. — B.  R. 
Cleared  away  by  these  and  other  operations,  the  wall  generally 
disappeared  about  the  year  1800,  leaving  only  a  few  fragments, 
the  largest  of  which  near  the  East  Port  has  already  been 
referred  to. 

The  three  streets  are,  of  course,  the  High  Street,  Northgate, 
and  Old  Town.  The  three  bridges  are  Tweed  Bridge  and  two 
across  Eddleston  Water  ;  though,  strictly  speaking,  there  are  five, 
by  including  two  of  a  minor  kind.  Of  the  history  of  Tweed 
Bridge,  we  have  presented  some  particulars  ;  but  of  that  across 
Eddleston  Water,  near  the  church  (lately  superseded  by  a  new 
bridge),  no  accurate  account  can  be  given.  Our  belief  is,  that  it 
had  no  existence  when  the  town  was  in  a  defensible  state  with 
walls.  At  that  period,  the  access  from  the  old  to  the  new  town 
was  chiefly  by  the  Briggate,  towards  which,  as  the  records  shew, 
there  was  a  thoroughfare,  called  Brig-house-knowe,  a  name 
now  corrupted  into  Biggies-knowe.  There  was  a  minor  access 
by  a  ford  across  Eddleston  Water,  at  the  foot  of  St  Michael's 

The  three  steeples  of  Peebles  were  those  of  St  Andrew's  Church, 



the  Cross  Church,  and  the  Chapel  of  the  Virgin.  The  steeple  of 
this  last-mentioned  edifice,  at  the  west  end  of  the  High  Street 
(opposite  the  office  of  the  Union  Bank),  was  that  which  contained 
'  ye  knok,'  purchased  by  fines  in  1462,  and  also  the  bell  which, 
besides  calling  together  the  council,  summoned  the  inhabitants 
three  times  every  week  to  pay  the  cess  or  government  tax 
stented  by  the  quarter-masters.  This  old  steeple  was  further  of 
use  in  having  a,  vaulted  apartment,  which,  as  auxiliary  to  the 
tolbooth,  served  the  purpose  of  a  prison. 

Of  the  mills,  one  was  a  wauk-mill  on  Eddleston,  or,  as  it  is 
sometimes  called,  Peebles,  Water ;  and  the  other  two,  a  malt  and 
meal  mill,  were  on  the  Tweed,  near  the  castle.  From  frequent 
references  in  the  burgh  records  to  the  malt-mill  and  to  breweries, 
we  conclude  that  in  past  times  a  considerable  quantity  of  ale  was 
made  for  the  use  of  the  inhabitants,  and  that  the  quality  and 
price  of  the  article  were  protected  by  heavy  penalties. 

The  arms  of  the  town,  referred  to  in  the  lines  of  Pennecuik, 
consist  of  a  shield  with  three  fishes,  proper,  counter-swimming — 

that  is,  one  swimming  up  and  two 
down  the  stream,  as  indicating  the 
increase  by  spawning ;  with  the 
MENTUM  (Increase  by  swimming 
against  the  flood).  The  figure  of 
St  Andrew  with  his  cross  is  some- 
times introduced  as  crest ;  such  being 
evidently  traced  to  the  patron  saint 
of  the  original  parish  church.  The 
Fig-  23.— Burgh  Seal.  arms  without  the  crest,  with  the  date 

1682,  continue  to  be  borne  on  the  seal  of  the  burgh,  of  which 
we  offer  a  representation. 

Peebles,  as  has  been  said,  suffered  a  blow  by  the  Act  of  Union, 
about  which  time  it  seems  to  have  dropped  into  that  peaceful 
and  languishing  condition  from  which  it  is  only  now  effectually 
recovering.  It  was  about  the  conclusion  of  the  tasteful  period, 
that  the  market-cross  of  the  burgh,  which  figures  at  various  times 



in  its  history,  was  renovated,  and  received  that  picturesque  form 

which  it  bore  within  the  recollection  of  the  present  writer. 

Standing  in  the  centre  of  the  street,  opposite  the  head  of  the 

Northgate,  the  cross  consisted  of  an  octagonal   shaft  of  stone, 

three  feet  three  inches  in 

circumference,    and    about 

twelve  feet  high,  with  an 

ornamental     capital,     sur- 
mounted    by    a    sun-dial 

with  four  faces,  bearing  at 

the  corners  the  date  1699. 

Above  the  dial  was  an  iron 

vane,    in    which   were   the 

open    figures    1662.      The 

shaft  rose  from  the  centre 

of  a  paved  platform,  or  roof 

of  an   octagonal  building, 

about   ten   feet   high,  and 

twelve    feet    across.       An 

access  to  the  platform  was 

gained    by    a    door     and 

inner  flight  of  steps.     The  sides  of  the  octangular  substructure 

being  of  plain  ashlar,  and  the  platform  being  unprovided  with 

a  railing,  there  was  nothing  attractive  in  point  of  architecture, 

yet  the  whole  had  a  good  effect.  To  enhance  its  appearance, 
the  shaft  was  decorated  on  four  sides  with  carved  shields,  and  in 
the  floral  ornaments  of  the  capital  might  be  recognised  the 
cinquefoil  of  the  Frasers  of  Neidpath,  and  the  three  fish  as  the 
cognizance  of  the  burgh.  The  cross,  so  constructed,  was  useful 
to  the  town  according  to  the  usages  of  a  past  era.  Offenders 
were  set  upon  it  as  a  pillory,  and  from  it  royal  and  other  procla- 
mations were  made.  Around  it  were  circled  the  gentlemen  of 
the  town  and  county  to  drink  the  king's  health  at  every  recur- 
ring birthday  of  His  Majesty ;  it  being  the  practice  on  such 
occasions  for  each  gentleman  to  throw  away  his  glass  over  his 
head  when  the  health  was  drunk,  greatly  to  the  delight  of  the 

Fig.  29.— Cross  of  Peebles,  1699. 


surrounding  crowd,  who  tried  to  catch  the  glasses  as  they  fell 
— the  exhilaration  of  the  scene  being  increased  by  shouts 
mingled  with  strains  from  the  town-piper  and  such  other  music 
as  was  at  command.1  With  incidents  of  this  festive  kind,  also 
the  horse-races  at  Beltane,  the  competitions  of  the  Royal 
Archers,  and  the  merriment  of  several  annual  fairs,  we  have 
to  enliven  the  somewhat  dull  routine  of  life  in  Peebles  throughout 
the  greater  part  of  the  eighteenth  century. 

What  became  of  the  old  castle  of  Peebles,  once  the  residence 
of  royalty,  is  left  unexplained  by  any  record  which  we  have  been 
able  to  consult.  The  last  time  we  see  it  mentioned  is  in  the 
Rental  Book  of  the  Earl  of  Tweeddale's  estates,  which  is  dated 
'Peebles  Castle,  26th  April  1671  till  1685.' a  Peebles  Castle 
therefore  existed,  though  perhaps  in  a  decayed  condition,  until 
near  the  close  of  the  seventeenth  century,  and  shortly  afterwards 
sinking  to  ruin,  it  would  probably  be  removed  as  building 
materials.  Certainly,  it  was  gone  at  the  commencement  of  the 
eighteenth  century.  In  1720,  the  town-council  ordered  'the 
banks  round  the  castle-hill  to  be  planted  with  trees.'  Subse- 
quently, a  portion  of  the  cleared  site  of  the  castle  was  laid  out 
as  a  public  bowling-green ;  and  the  remaining  part  continued  to 
be  occupied  with  some  inferior  buildings  and  a  stack-yard  until 
the  space  was  required  for  the  new  parish  church. — B.  R.  At 
the  building  of  the  prison,  some  of  the  foundations  of  the  castle 
were  disclosed. 

Resuming  the  history  of  the  burgh  at  the  point  it  was  broken  off,  we 
are  introduced  to  a  personage  who  was  long  well  known  in  the  world  of 
fashion,  Lord  William  Douglas,  Earl  of  March  and  Ruglen,  who  after- 
wards became  fourth  Duke  of  Queensberry.  Born  in  1725,  in  the 
family  mansion  in  Peebles,  the  earl,  while  still  a  young  man  residing  in 
London,  appears  to  have  constituted  himself  political  adviser  to  the  town- 
council,  over  which,  from  his  territorial  advantages,  his  patronage  of  the 
parish,  and  other  circumstances,  he  exercised  apparently  a  complete 

1  Information  from  an  aged  lady,  who  remembered  the  health  of  George  II.  being 
dnmk  in  this  manner  in'  1758. 

a  Inventory  of  Writings  produced  by  Robert  Taylor,  a  claimant  in  the  Polmood 


thraldom.  On  all  occasions  of  elections  of  members  of  parliament 
for  the  district  of  burghs,  his  lordship  courteously  wrote  to  the  provost  of 
Peebles,  intimating  whom  he  wished  to  be  placed  in  nomination,  and  only 
on  some  special  ground  were  his  wishes  ever  neglected.  Out  of  many 
instances  of  this  interference  with  the  freedom  of  election,  one  may  be 
given.  When,  in  1754,  the  Honourable  Mr  Carmichael  declined  to  offer 
himself  again  as  a  candidate,  on  the  score  of  bad  health,  his  lordship 
brought  forward  another  of  his  nominees,  Mr  Murray  of  Philiphaugh,  a 
former  member,  favourably  known  by  his  contribution  of  ;£ioo  to  bring 
water  into  the  burgh.  On  this  occasion,  the  following  letter  was  received 
by  the  provost,  and  communicated  to  the  council. 

'  London,  y>th  March  1754. — SIR — Mr  Murray  of  Philiphaugh  proposes 
to  offer  himself  as  candidate  for  your  district  of  burghs.  I  hope  you  and 
the  council  will  approve  of  this  intention,  and  think  him  a  fit  person  to 
represent  you  in  parliament.  His  birth,  fortune,  and  good  character,  I 
doubt  not,  will  sufficiently  recommend  him.  His  being  my  friend  will,  I 
flatter  myself,  likewise  incline  you  to  serve  him.  Be  assured,  you  can 
never  do  anything  more  agreeable  to  me,  and  I  do  the  more  earnestly 
recommend  him  to  your  friendship  and  assistance,  as  I  am  well  satisfied 
you  cannot  fix  upon  a  more  worthy  representative,  or  on  one  who  will 
be  more  willing  or  more  able  to  serve  you.  Upon  this  occasion,  I 
cannot  help  repeating  to  you  and  the  council  the  assurance  I  have  often 
made  you  of  my  inclination  to  be  useful  to  you.  I  daresay,  every  man 
in  Peebles  is  convinced  of  the  particular  affection  I  must  have  to  the 
town,  where  I  was  born,  and  every  one  must  see  that  by  your  situation, 
whatever  services  I  can  do  you,  must  in  the  end  not  only  tend  to  my 
honour  but  to  my  advantage. — I  am  your  most  obedient  and  assured 
friend,  MARCH  and  RUGLEN.' — B.  R. 

Murray  was  returned.  For  this  and  similar  transactions,  the  inhabit- 
ants were  not  answerable.  The  nomination  of  members  of  parliament, 
until  the  Reform  Act,  was  in  the  hands  of  the  town-council,  which  con- 
sisted of  a  provost,  two  bailies,  a  dean  of  guild,  a  treasurer,  and  thirteen 
councillors,  making  in  all  seventeen.  The  election  of  the  council  took 
place  yearly,  on  the  first  Monday  after  Michaelmas,  much  on  the  plan  of 
the  old  electing  the  new  members,  the  only  person  nominated  through 
exterior  influences  being  the  deacon  of  the  corporation  of  weavers. 
Substantially,  the  council  were  elected,  as  well  as  regulated  in  their 
proceedings,  by  the  provost.  We  are  also  to  recollect,  that  the 
business  of  the  council  was  for  a  lengthened  period  conducted  with 
profound  secrecy ;  to  enforce  which  an  oath  appears  to  have  been  insti- 
tuted, in  1766,  during  the  long  incumbency  of  Provost  Francis  Russell. 
From  this  date,  for  about  thirty-four  years,  all  the  members  of  council, 


at  each  annual  election,  swore  the  following  oath  of  secrecy,  imme- 
diately after  taking  the  oaths  of  allegiance  and  assurance : 

'I, ,  Do  hereby  Promise  and  Declare  upon  oath  before  God 

and  the  remanent  members  of  this  Council,  and  that  without  any  mental 
reservation  or  prevarication,  that  I  shall  not  Disclose  or  make  known  to 
any  person  whatever,  by  word  or  write,  or  any  other  manner  of  way 
whatsoever,  any  Secrets  or  Debates  of  this  Council :  That  is,  how  or  in 
what  manner  any  Member  shall  vote  for  or  against  any  affair,  cause,  or 
business,  that  shall  come  before  them,  nor  the  reasons  and  arguments 
that  shall  be  used  and  advanced  by  any  Member  of  Council.' — B.  R, 
Subscribed  by  all  the  members  and  town-clerk. 

1759,  Nov.  1 6. — William  Malcolm  applies  to  the  council  for  assistance 
to  enable  him  to  dig  for  coal,  of  which  '  he  has  good  hopes,'  at  Windy- 
lawsburnfoot.  It  is  agreed  to  let  him  have  'three  hands  upon  the 
town's  expense  for  two  weeks.'  The  council  afterwards  allow  him  wood 
to  prop  the  sides  of  his  pits. — B.  R.  This  was  a  vain  effort ;  no  coal 
was  discovered,  nor  possibly  could  be. 

Hitherto,  Peebles  had  derived  no  little  celebrity  from  its  Beltane 
festival,  which,  including  horse-races,  archery,  and  other  sports,  took 
place  on  the  level  plain  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Tweed,  known  as 
Whitehaugh  Muir.  Unmindful  of  the  value  of  traditions,  which  are  in 
themselves  a  property  not  purchasable  with  money,  the  town  did  not,  as 
it  seems  to  us,  make  any  particular  effort  to  preserve  this  interesting 
inheritance.  After  passing  through  various  hands,  the  Whitehaugh 
Muir  had  for  some  time  formed  part  of  the  estate  of  Haystoun,  and 
as  such  the  town  had  paid  yearly  to  the  tenant  the  sum  of  ten  merks 
Scots,  for  its  use  at  Beltane.  The  land  coming  into  the  management  of 
Dr  James  Hay,  he  began  to  enclose  and  improve  it  in  a  manner  which 
rendered  it  unfit  for  the  customary  festivities.  At  first,  the  town  gave 
little  heed  to  these  operations,  but  at  length  taking  the  matter  up,  the 
council  feigned  to  crave  the  opinion  of  a  lawyer  on  the  subject.  On  the 
iyth  of  February  1766,  a  memorial  is  copied  into  the  records,  repre- 
senting that  the  town  from  time  immemorial  has  used  the  Whitehaugh 
Muir  for  its  Beltane  and  other  races,  '  which  have  drawn  large  numbers 
of  persons  from  all  parts  of  the  kingdom,'  and  it  is  important  to  know 
'  what  measures  the  town  should  take  to  recover  its  right  and 
privilege  to  the  said  courses  and  muir.' — B.  R.  This  memorial  does  not 
appear  to  have  been  sent  to  any  lawyer,  and  there  is  no  more  about  it. 
Having  twenty-seven  years  earlier  dispossessed  itself  of  King's  Muir,  the 
town  was  now  left  without  a  sufficiently  large  space  of  ground  whereon 
to  hold  the  great  annual  gathering.  An  ancient  festival,  commemorated 
by  two  royal  poets,  and  from  which  alone  the  town  derived  any  celebrity, 
was  therefore  suffered  to  die  out  '  Peebles  to  the  Play '  was  extinct. 


1769,  April  4. — The  council  have  under  consideration  a  letter  from 
the  Earl  of  Traquair,  asking  a  subscription  to  help  him  to  build  a  bridge 
over  the  Quair,  which  he  says  will  be  of  great  use  in  facilitating  the 
transit  of  meal  from  Selkirk  to  Peebles  market,  by  way  of  Minchmoor. 
A  subscription  of  six  guineas  is  ordered  to  be  given  from  the  funds  of 
the  burgh. — B.  R. 

1770,  Oct.    10. — Mr  James   Montgomery,    Lord   Advocate,    having 
pointed  out  the  great  advantage  of  having  a  proper  road  from  Peebles  to 
the  border  of  Midlothian,  in  the  direction  of  Edinburgh,  a  general  sub- 
scription is  entered  into  for  the  purpose  of  effecting  this  improvement  by 
means  of  a  turnpike  act;    in  aid  of  which  the  burgh  subscribes  ten 
guineas. — B.  R.     Such  is  the  first  notice  of  the  present  road  to  Edin- 
burgh, the  previous  thoroughfare,  up  and  down  hill,  and  circuitous  in  a 
strange  manner,  being  barely  passable  by  wheeled  carriages.     The  road, 
for  example,  on  leaving  Peebles,  proceeded  uphill  to  Venlaw  House,  and 
then  along  the  heights,  descending  here  and  there,  and  at  last  quitting 
the  county  near  Portmore.     The  two  steepest  ascents  were  those  to 
Venlaw  and  Windylaws.     For  such  roads,  four  horses  were  necessary ; 
and  at  best,  the  average  progress  was  about  three  miles  an  hour.     It  is 
related  by  tradition,  that  Mr  James  Montgomery,  when  arriving  from 
Edinburgh  by  this  route,  came  thundering  down  the  road  from  Venlaw 
to  Peebles  in  his  four-horse  carriage. 

1771,  March  18. — James  Ritchie,  town-piper,  petitions  the  council  for 
a  salary.     He  says  '  that  he  had  been  the  town-servant  for  thirty  years, 
without  having  any  allowance  but  a  house  and  garden.     He  has  ten 
children,  five  of  them  still  in  family  with  him,  and  cannot  do  for  them- 
selves.    It  has  been  with  great  difficulty  he  has  brought  them  up ;  which 
necessitates  him  to  apply  for  a  small  salary'  to  be  settled  upon  him.' 
Prayer  of  petition  granted.     '  In  consideration  of  his  numerous  family, 
and  that  he  does  his  duty  regularly,  the  council  allow  him  five  shillings 
sterling,  quarterly.' — B.  R.     In  making  this  allowance,  the  council  doubt- 
less kept  in  view  that  the  piper  enjoyed  fees  for  playing  at  weddings  and 
other  festivities ;  and  that,  according  to  usage,  he  would  receive  many 
friendly  gifts  at  Hogmanay.    Latterly,  in  addition  to  the  above  handsome 
salary  of  a  pound  per  annum,  the  town  kept  him  in  a  suit  of  clothes,  red 
and  of  an  antique  cut,  with  a  cocked-hat.      On  a  fresh  petition,  he 
received  a  pair  of  shoes,  yearly.      Piper  Ritchie,  who  was  a  kind  of 
oddity,  died  a  very  old  man,  July  1807,  and  had  no  successor  in  his 

1772,  July   27. — It  is  represented  by  the  provost,  that  about   two 
weeks  ago,  Alexander  Murderson,  tenant  in  Wormiston,  and  John  Millar, 
his  sen-ant,  had  been  brought  to  Peebles  on  a  charge  of  stealing  sheep 
from  William  Gibson,  in  Newby,  and  Thomas  Gibson,  in  Grieston,  and 


lodged  in  the  vault  in  the  steeple,  which  being  very  insecure,  needs  to 
be  guarded  night  and  day.  The  council  order  new  locks  and  a  guard. 
— B.  R. 

Dec.  9. — The  members  of  the  corporation  of  tailors  petition  the 
magistrates  and  council  to  statute  and  ordain  that  the  hours  of  working 
at  the  houses  of  employers  shall  be  from  six  in  the  morning  till  six  in 
the  evening  in  summer,  and  from  eight  till  eight  in  winter.  Prayer  of 
petition  granted. — B.  R.  This  is  one  out  of  numerous  entries  of  the 
same  kind,  shewing  the  control  which  the  council  at  one  time  exercised 
over  the  incorporated  trades.  The  tailors  of  Peebles,  as  in  the  country 
parts  of  Scotland  generally,  continued  to  work  in  the  houses  of  their 
employers,  for  several  years  within  the  present  century,  when  the  practice 

1773,  Jan.  3. — Letter  read  from  Walter  Scott,  writer  to  the  signet, 
Edinburgh  [father  of  the  celebrated  Sir  Walter],  intimating  a  gift  to  the 
town  of  ^25  sterling  from  Sir  James  Cockburn,  baronet  (recently 
appointed  member),  for  behoof  of  the  poor  of  the  burgh.  Mr  Scott 
says :  '  It  will  be  very  convenient  for  you  to  send  an  order  to  some  person 
here  to  receive  the  money  from  me,  as  it  is  not  safe  trusting  it  with 
carriers.'  Thanks  of  the  council  ordered,  and  meal  is  to  be  bought  with 
the  amount,  and  distributed  among  the  poor. — B.  R.  On  two  occasions 
afterwards,  gifts  of  the  same  amount  are  intimated  by  Mr  Scott;  and 
both  times  meal  is  purchased  and  distributed.  From  these  and  other 
entries,  it  would  appear  that  the  privilege  of  electing  a  member  of 
parliament  was  useful  as  an  aid  towards  supporting  the  poor.  At  the 
rate  of  ^25  per  burgh,  Sir  James  Cockburn  must  have  paid  ;£ioo,  in 
name  of  donations,  at  each  election.  But  his  presents  were  not  confined 
to  money.  1781,  Feb.  17.  'Provost  Reid  acquainted  the  council  that 
he  had  lately  received  from  Mr  Walter  Scott,  as  Doer  for  Sir  James 
Cockburn,  a  bagpipe  as  a  present  from  Sir  James  to  the  town,  which 
was  exhibited  in  council.'1 — B,  R. 

Aug.  23. — Rev.  W.  Dalgleish,  parish  minister,  is  requested  by  the 
council  to  desist  from  pasturing  the  churchyard  with  his  horse  and  cows; 
and  to  exclude  him,  a  lock  is  placed  on  the  gate. — B.  R. 

1775,  March  25. — The  council  have  under  consideration  'the  great 
necessity  there  is  for  a  hangman  to  reside  in  the  town,'  unanimously 
agree,  that  if  a  proper  person  can  be  had,  they  will  engage  him,  and  give 
him  a  proper  salary  over  and  above  the  fees  belonging  to  that  office. 

1  One  should  not  too  readily  smile  at  these  gifts  ;  for  in  accepting  them  Peebles  was 
no  way  singular.  Until  our  own  times,  the  member  for  Edinburgh  gave  a  plate 
of  fifty  guineas,  to  be  run  for  at  the  yearly  races.  As  derogatory  alike  to  giver 
and  receiver,  Mr  Macaulay  declined  to  perpetuate  practices  of  this  nature. 


Aug.  31. — The  council  appoint  five  persons  for  the  respective  quarters 
of  the  town  '  to  be  apprysers  or  Birleymen  within  the  burgh  for  the 
ensuing  year.'  They  are  to  attend  and  give  their  oath,  de  fideli. — B.  R. 
Previously  (March  29,  1736),  there  is  an  entry  respecting  the  appoint- 
ment of  Birleymen  for  the  old  town.  We  have  heard  of  no  other 
instance  of  Birleymen  being  appointed  in  a  royal  burgh.  In  old  Scottish 
baronies,  Birleymen  were  an  inferior  class  of  officials,  whose  duty  con- 
sisted in  keeping  order  and  settling  petty  disputes  amicably.  Being  in 
Peebles  designated  '  apprysers,'  they  probably  exercised  the  duty  of 
authorised  valuators. 

Oct.  24. — The  council,  hearing  that  other  town-councils  are  sending 
addresses  to  George  III.,  expressive  of  sympathy  with  His  Majesty,  on 
account  of  the  rebellion  of  his  American  subjects,  cordially  agree  to  send 
a  loyal  address  to  the  king,  in  which  they  state,  '  that  it  is  with  the 
utmost  abhorrence  and  detestation  we  see  a  rebellion  carried  on  in  some 
of  your  Majesty's  colonies,  instigated  and  promoted  by  a  seditious  and 
evil-minded  faction  at  home.' — B.  R.  Let  those  who  impute  the  loss  of 
the  American  colonies  to  the  obstinacy  of  George  III.,  keep  such 
addresses  in  remembrance. 

1776,  Jan.  15. — The  steeple  is  ordered  to  be  taken  down  as  ruinous, 
and  the  rubbish  sold. — B.  R. 

1778,  Feb.  9. — At  the  request  of  Mr  Haig  of  Bemerside,  the  council 
contribute  five  guineas  towards  the  cost  of  a  bridge  over  Leader  Water 
foot,  then  just  finished. — B.  R. 

Dec.  29. — The  council,  in  conjunction  with  the  heritors,  agree  to  the 
proposition  of  building  a  new  church,  betwixt  the  bowling-green  and  the 
street.  The  town  to  be  at  the  expense  of  building  the  steeple  and 
furnishing  it  with  a  clock  and  bells,  for  which  it  is  to  be  the  property  of 
the  burgh.  Shortly  afterwards,  the  council  stake  off  the  site  on  the 
Castle-hill ;  and  a  plan  by  Mr  Brown,  architect,  is  approved  of. — 

1779,  Aug.  26. — The  provost  reports  that  he  had  caused  the  town- 
officer  to  apprehend  an  able-bodied  man  fit  for  His  Majesty's  service, 
and  take  him  hand-cuffed  to  Edinburgh,  but  that  the  officer  while  on  the 
way  had  taken  drink  and  removed  the  hand-cuffs,  whereby  the  man 
escaped.     The  council  authorise  the  officer  to  be  dismissed. — B.  R. 
Nothing  seems  to  have  been  charged  against  the  '  able-bodied  man ; ' 
the  provost  merely  saw  in  him  an  object  fit  to  be  impressed  for  the 
naval  service,  for  which,  at  this  time,  men  were  urgently  in  request. 

1779. — This  year,  Peebles  partook  of  the  general  frenzy,  caused  by 
the  proposal  to  remove  the  disabilities  of  Roman  Catholics  in  Scotland. 
The  town-council,  and  also  the  several  incorporated  trades  (Jan.  28) 
petitioned  both  houses  of  parliament  against  the  relief  bill ;  and  to  aid 


the  opposition,  the  trades,  by  small  sums  from  each,  contributed  ^14,  ios. 
to  be  forwarded  to  the  central  committee  in  Edinburgh. — B.  R.  To  its 
great  honour,  the  Synod  of  Lothian  and  Tweeddale  refused  to  join  in 
the  popular  clamour,  or  to  petition  against  what  now  all  consider  to  have 
been  an  act  of  justice  and  humanity. 

1780,  Feb.  19. — A  pump-well  ordered  to  be  dug  in  the  old  town,  at 
the  end  of  the  Lidgate. — B.  R. 

1783,  Jan.  25. — The  church  being  built,  it  is  discovered  that  the 
steeple,  which  all  expected  to  be  the  pride  of  the  town,  instead  of  being 
finely  tapered,  according  to  the  plan,  bulges  out  in  a  very  extraordinary 
way.  Mr  Robert  Burn,  architect,  being  sent  for  and  consulted  about  it, 
declares  that  the  plan  has  been  '  shamefully  departed  from.'  Unfortu- 
nately, the  work  cannot  be  undone  and  properly  executed  over  again, 
except  at  an  expense  which  the  contractors,  two  masons  in  the  town,  are 
unable  to  encounter.  Subject  drops — B.  R.  The  steeple  remains  an 
eyesore  till  the  present  day. 

1789. — Adam  Peacock  petitions  the  council  to  erect  a  snuff-mill  for 
him,  adjoining  the  wauk-mill ;  they  decline  doing  so. — B.  R.  Peacock 
was  a  manufacturer  of  tobacco  in  the  town,  and  afterwards  removed  to 

1791. — A  meeting-house  is  built  at  the  Gytes  for  a  secession  congre- 
gation, which  had  existed  in  the  town  for  a  few  years,  and  for  which 
Rev.  Thomas  Leckie  was  ordained  minister  in  1794. 

1792. — Wild  ideas  about  liberty  and  equality,  projected  by  the 
French  Revolution,  having  reached  Peebles,  and  affected  some  young 
men,  the  council  take  the  subject  into  consideration,  and  declare  their 
horror  of '  the  seditious  writings  and  open  efforts  of  the  turbulent  and 
designing  for  the  subversion  of  our  present,  and  in  favour  of  republican 
government.' — B.  R. 

Feb.  27. — 'William  Kerr,  distiller  and  brewer  within  the  royalty 
of  Peebles,'  states  by  petition  that  he  has  carried  on  business  for 
several  years,  but  is  like  to  be  ruined  by  the  exaction  of  multures  by  the 
tacksman  of  the  town-mills,  who  holds  him  to  a  thirlage  for  all  the  grain 
he  uses.  Council  decline  to  interfere. — B.  R.  This  is  the  first  time 
we  hear  of  Kerfield  Brewery,  which  was  long  a  flourishing  concern. 
Subsequently,  Jan.  21,  1801,  the  council  have  brought  before  them  the 
fact  that  bakers  in  the  town  get  their  grain  ground  at  Kerfield,  to  the 
great  damage  of  the  town-mill.  The  subject  being  laid  before  an 
eminent  lawyer  for  his  opinion,  he  decides  that  bakers  in  the  town  who 
grind  at  Kerfield  Mill  are  liable  in  the  multures  exigible  by  the  tacks- 
man of  the  town-mill. — B.  R.  How  strange  to  find  that,  within  the 
present  century,  there  was  an  imperative  legal  obligation  to  employ 
only  the  mill  belonging  to  the  burgh. 


March  17. — A  petition  is  presented  by  'John  Kennedy,  baker,'1  and 
four  others,  to  be  allowed  to  extend  their  gardens  towards  the  green,  in 
the  same  manner  as  several  who  dwelt  west  from  them  had  done 
previously.  This  privilege  was  granted  for  a  small  compensation.  In 
1799,  'William  Gibson,  son  of  the  deceast  William  Gibson,'  and  seven 
others,  make  a  similar  application,  and  receive  the  like  permission.  In 
1809,  the  last  of  these  extensions  takes  place. — B,  R.  We  particularise 
these  encroachments  on  the  green,  because  they  were  all  from  forty  to 
fifty  feet  beyond  the  town-wall,  which  proceeded  in  a  slanting  direction, 
from  closely  behind  the  houses  at  the  West  Port,  to  the  foot  of  the 
Vennel,  where  alone  the  original  line  is  now  discernible.  The  school- 
house,  which  was  built  exterior  to  the  wall,  determined  the  present  garden 
boundary.  There  is  no  mention  in  the  books  of  the  building  of  a 
small  house  outside  the  wall,  which  used  to  be  named,  perhaps 
not  inappropriately,  '  Cabbage  Hall.' 

May  26. — Charles  Rogers  appointed  '  hangman,  or  deputy-executer  of 
the  law,'  at  the  common  salary. — B.  R,  We  have  heard  of  no  instance 
in  which  Rogers  acted  as  executioner ;  his  principal  duties  consisted  in 
whipping  and  placing  offenders  on  the  pillory.  He  eked  out  his 
small  salary  by  officiating  as  a  town-crier,  for  which  he  used  a  hand-bell 
to  draw  public  attention.  His  dress,  provided  by  the  town,  consisted  of 
a  dark-blue  coat,  with  white  facings.  We  cannot  refrain  from  adding 
the  following,  which  appears  under  date  April  26,  1803.  'Appoint  the 
treasurer  to  procure  a  suit  of  new  clothes  for  Charles  Rogers,  hangman, 
the  cloth  not  to  exceed  three  shillings  and  fourpence  a  yard ;  and  also 
to  furnish  him  with  a  new  shirt  and  a  new  pair  of  shoes  and  stockings, 
to  equip  him  for  his  marriage.' — B.  R.  Was  ever  hangman's  marriage 
so  cared  for?  Charley,  a  respectable  man  in  his  way,  died  within  our 
recollection,  and  had  no  successor. 

1795. — Mr  Alexander  Brodie  of  Carey  Street,  London,  sends  ten 
guineas  to  the  poor,  and  besides  gives  ^5  a  year  to  the  burgh  school- 
master to  teach  poor  scholars. — B.  R. 

1796. — School-fee  per  quarter  for  reading,  writing,  and  arithmetic, 
which  had  been  fixed  at  is.  in  1782,  is  now  raised  to  is.  6d.  for  reading, 
and  2s.  including  writing  and  arithmetic. — B.  R.  Fifteen  years  later, 
the  fee  was  only  zs.  3</.,  and  including  Latin,  5-r.  In  addition  to  the 

1  Of  this  person,  tradition  has  preserved  some  pleasant  remembrance.  'Johnny 
Kennedy,'  a  vivacious  little  man,  was  celebrated  for  his  admirable  penny  pies  and 
twopenny,  which,  with  the  assistance  of  his  daughter,  Jean,  one  of  the  belles  of 
Peebles,  he  dispensed  in  an  establishment,  consisting  of  a  sunk  cellar,  half  bake-house, 
half  tavern,  at  the  foot  of  a  close  in  the  High  Street,  which  was  long  a  favourite 
resort  of  the  lieges,  particularly  on  Saturday  nights.  This  humble  but  merry  hostel 
was  situated  at  the  foot  of  the  close  adjoining  the  premises  of  Messrs  Thorbum. 


fees,  however,  a  voluntary  donation  was  made  to  the  teacher  at  Candle- 
mas, named  the  '  Candlemas  bleeze,'  a  relic  of  an  ancient  usage.  Pupils, 
also,  contributed  a  few  pence  in  winter  for  coal. 

1797,  April  15. — Ordered  that  all  boys  pulling  up  stones  in  the  street 
with  suckers  are  to  be  seized,  and  their  suckers   taken  from  them. — 

1798,  March  i. — The  town  subscribes  ^100  'to  support  government 
at  this  critical  period.' — B.  R. 

March  10. — Estimates  are  taken  for  building  a  new  prison,  also  for 
additional  arches  to  Tweed  Bridge. — B.  R.  Both  works  were  executed 
next  year.  The  contractor  for  the  bridge  was  John  Hislop,  formerly 
town  treasurer,  who  died  from  injuries  received  by  the  fall  of  one  of  the 
arches.  His  house,  which  was  the  first  to  the  west  of  the  Town  Hall, 
shews  some  artistic  taste. 

1799,  March  i. — Mr  Oman,  and  Mr  Brown,  the  town  schoolmasters, 
are  to  convene  their  scholars  every  Sunday  morning,  put  them  through 
the  catechism,  and  march   them   to  church;  they  are  also  to  appoint 
'  censurers '  to  keep  order  in  the  church. — B.  R.      The  practice  here 
referred  to  had  fallen  into  disuse,  and  was  now  re-instituted  in  con- 
formity with  awakened  religious  feelings. 

1799,  March  29. — In  consequence  of  the  present  disturbances  in 
Ireland,  many  Irish  come  to  the  town  for  the  purpose  of  disseminating 
the  worst  of  principles ;  all  such  suspicious  persons  to  be  apprehended. 
— B.  R.  The  town  was  now  in  great  alarm  about  the  French,  and  the 
possibility  of  an  invasion.  In  conjunction  -with  the  county,  it  raised  a 
regiment  of  Volunteers  to  support  the  government ;  and  in  token  of 
loyalty,  some  of  the  leading  inhabitants  of  Peebles  wore  the  Windsor 
uniform,  consisting  of  a  blue  coat  with  red  collar. 

July  20. — The  council  agree  to  feu  Walker's  Haugh,  for  a  line  of 
houses  at  the  east  end  of  the  green,  at  the  rate  of  one  shilling  for  each 
thirty-eight  square  yards. — B.  R.  Thus,  for  a  very  trifling  consideration, 
Tweed-green  was  again  injuriously  limited  in  dimensions. 

Sep.  n. — William  Moffat,  town  drummer,  who  had  some  time 
previously  resigned,  is  re-instated  in  office ;  being  at  the  same  time 
admonished  to  be  punctual  in  beating  the  morning  and  evening  drum, 
in  which  he  had  formerly  failed  to  give  satisfaction.  As  regards  emolu- 
ments, he  is  to  have  a  salary  of  three  (afterwards  raised  to  four)  pounds 
a  year,  besides  fees  for  advertising  by  drum  per  tariff.  He  is  also 
allowed  to  rent  a  vaulted  apartment  in  the  prison  (the  left  on  entering), 
as  a  dwelling-house,  at  a  guinea  a  year. — B.  R.  When  '  Drummer  Will,' 
as  he  was  usually  styled,  was  first  appointed  to  office,  does  not  appear. 
Within  our  recollection,  he  was  an  aged  but  tough  little  man,  with  well- 
turned  legs — for  there  were  legs  in  those  days — dressed  in  a  military 


coat  of  the  style  of  1763,  and  having  his  thin  gray  hair  drawn  tightly 
back  from  his  forehead  till  it  centred  in  a  plaited  queue  behind.  Will 
was  a  useful  servant  of  the  burgh,  for  besides  being  jailer  and  drummer, 
he  acted  as  constable  to  the  provost  and  bailies.  It  is  proper  to  add, 
that  his  performances  on  the  drum  were  executed  with  professional 
precision.  Will  had  been  in  the  army  in  his  youth,  and  was  reputed  to 
have  had  the  honour  of  beating  a  drum  at  the  capture  of  Quebec.  The 
boys  had  a  wild  story  about  him.  It  was  said  that  once,  on  the  occasion 
of  a  great  battle,  he  stood  heroically  beating  his  drum  in  the  midst  of  fire 
and  shot,  till  every  man  in  the  regiment  was  killed  but  himself.  There 
may  have  been  some  exaggeration  in  this  legend,  but  Drummer  Will  was 
certainly  no  ordinary  man,  and  we  drop  a  line  to  his  memory. 

1800,  Jan.  4. — The  council  having  under  consideration  the  scarcity 
and  dearth  of  meal,  which  is  most  distressing  to  poor  persons  and 
labourers,  invite  farmers  to  bring  their  meal  to  market,  and  a  subscrip- 
tion is  opened  to  purchase  and  distribute  it  at  a  moderate  price. — B.  R. 
Such  is  the  only  notice  we  have  of  the  '  dear  year,'  when  oatmeal  was 
sold  at  half-a-crown  a  peck.  It  was  during  this  season  of  scarcity  that  a 
mob,  in  which  a  masculine  heroine,  named  May  Ingram,  figured  as 
leader,  proceeded  to  Edston,  and  in  defiance  of  the  farmer,  Mr  Robert 
Symington,  carried  off  a  cart-load  of  meal  to  Peebles.  The  magistrates, 
procuring  the  assistance  of  the  Volunteers,  captured  the  meal  from  the 
mob,  and  storing  it  in  the  market-house,  sold  it,  under  some  arrange- 
ment to  pay  the  proprietor. 

1802,  June  19. — The  first  division  of  the  42 d  Regiment,  under  command 
of  Lieutenant-colonel  William  Dickson  of  Kilbucho,  enter  Peebles,  and 
the  officers  and  men  are  entertained  in  grand  style  at  the  cost  of  the 
town,  in  honour  of  their  distinguished  services  in  Egypt. — B.  R. 

Acts  of  kindness  to  poor  people  are  very  frequent  in  the  town-books. 
For  example,  June  28,  1803,  the  council  having  heard  '  that  Widow 
Henderson  at  Whinnyknowe  has  got  two  houses  totally  brunt,  agree  to 
give  her  spars  for  roofing  the  houses  from  the  town  s  plantation.' — B.  R. 

There  was  need  for  these  small  benevolences.  At  this  and  a  later 
time,  the  parochial  succour  to  the  poor  was  on  that  niggardly  footing 
which  at  length  provoked  the  establishment  of  the  new  poor-law  system. 
Besides  the  native  poverty,  too  modest  to  make  itself  known,  mendicancy 
of  every  kind  was  still  common — aggravated,  indeed,  by  the  mishaps  of 
the  war.  Old  soldiers  with  wooden  legs,  and  blinded  of  an  eye  from 
the  campaign  in  Egypt ;  sailors  with  one  arm,  and  long  queues  hanging 
down  their  backs,  who  were  always  singing  ballads  about  Lord  Nelson 
and  his  marvellous  battles ;  houseless  nondescripts  carrying  wallets  for 
an  '  awmous '  of  meal ;  blue-gowns,  who  presented  themselves  with  pro- 
fessional confidence  ;  and  real  or  affectedly  lame  aged  women,  who  were 


carried  about  on  hand-barrows  from  door  to  door,  were  all  a  pest  to 
the  community,  and  continued  their  perambulations  in  defiance  of  a 
functionary,  designated  the  '  beggar-catcher,'  who  was  specially  appointed 
for  their  suppression.  Fasten's  E'en  and  Beltane  Fairs,  at  which  there 
was  still  a  considerable  concourse,  usually  attracted  fresh  groups  of 
mendicants,  who  arrived  from  Edinburgh  along  with  the  shows,1  and  the 
gingerbread  and  wheel-of-fortune  men.  Among  the  musical  geniuses, 
vocal  and  instrumental,  who  enlivened,  or  perhaps  troubled,  the  town 
on  these  occasions,  there  was  a  venerable  violinist,  John  Jameson  by 
name.  Aged  and  blind,  John  wandered  through  the  county,  playing 
at  kirns,  penny-weddings,  and  fairs ;  all  his  journeys  being  on  foot,  and 
performed  with  the  assistance  of  two  faithful  companions — his  wife 
Jenny,  and  an  old  white  horse,  probably  worth  ten  shillings.  The 
manner  in  which  this  humble  trio  went  about  from  place  to  place,  gene- 
rally getting  lodgings  at  farm-steadings  for  nothing,  or  at  most  for  a  tune 

1  For  many  years,  Peebles  fairs  were  frequented  by  a  personage,  known  as  Beni 
Minori,  who  carried  about  a  Raree  show,  and  is  perhaps  still  remembered.  The  real 
name  of  this  humble  showman  was  Robert  Brown ;  that  of  Beni  Minori  having  been 
assumed  for  professional  reasons.  Brown  was  born  in  London  in  1 737,  and  reared 
under  the  charge  of  his  grand-parents  near  Carlisle,  where  he  remembered  the  passing 
of  Prince  Charles  Stuart  on  his  way  into  and  out  of  England,  the  subsequent  surrender 
of  the  Highland  garrison  to  the  Duke  of  Cumberland,  and  the  still  later  and  more 
agitating  sight  of  the  bloody  heads  over  the  gates  of  the  city.  The  early  years  of 
Brown's  life  were  spent  as  a  post-boy.  He  then  went  to  sea  in  1 759,  was  captured  by 
the  French,  and  remained  a  prisoner  till  the  end  of  the  '  Seven  Years'  War. '  Next,  he 
went  to  the  West  Indies,  and  had  a  perfect  recollection  of  the  famous  victory  achieved 
by  Rodney,  April  12,  1782.  Returning  to  England,  he  purchased  the  show-box  of  an 
old  and  dying  Italian,  named  Beni  Minori,  and  assuming  his  name,  he  was,  from  some 
resemblance  to  the  deceased,  universally  recognised  as  the  same  personage.  Now 
began  the  wanderings  of  Beni,  otherwise  Brown,  through  the  north  of  England  and 
southern  counties  of  Scotland,  everywhere  carrying  his  show-box  on  his  back,  and 
resorting  to  all  the  fairs  within  his  rounds.  Our  first  interview  with  Beni  was  in 
Peebles  about  1805,  and  the  last  time  we  saw  him  was  in  1839,  in  the  Edinburgh 
Charity  Workhouse,  where  this  aged  and  industrious  man  had  at  length  found  a 
sheltering  roof  under  which  to  die.  Here,  we  learned  the  leading  particulars  of  Beni's 
variegated  life.  He  mentioned  that  his  mother  had  been  dead  a  hundred  and 
two  years  ;  for,  in  giving  him  birth,  she  survived  only  a  quarter  of  an  hour.  He  had 
long  ceased  to  have  a  single  relation  in  the  world.  Twelve  years  ago,  he  had  lost  his 
wife,  to  whom  he  had  been  united  sixty-four  years.  There  was  no  living  being 
to  whom  he  could  look  with  the  eyes  of  affection.  The  only  thing  he  cared  for  was 
his  show-box,  which  he  daily  cleaned  and  arranged  ;  every  picture,  ring,  and  cord 
being  to  him  like  the  face  of  an  old  friend.  Though  thus  cast  a  living  wreck  on  the 
shores  of  Time,  Beni  always  retained  the  liveliness  which  had  procured  for  him  the 
attachment  of  the  boys  of  Peebles.  His  appearance  was  still  that  of  a  weather-beaten 
foreigner.  He  wore  ear-rings,  chewed  tobacco,  and  joked  till  the  last.  With  some 
little  assuagement  of  his  condition,  provided  by  the  kindness  of  a  few  acquaintances, 
Beni  survived  till  June  1840,  when  he  died  at  the  age  of  103  years. 



Fig.  30. 

on  the  violin,  was  so  remarkable  as  to  deserve  commemoration.     First, 
came  the  wife,  limping,  with  one  hand  pressed  on  that  unfortunately 
rheumatic  side,  the  other  leading 
the  old  horse  by  a  halter.  Second, 
the  horse,  which  never  seemed 
very   willing   to   get   along,   and 
needed  to  be  pulled  with  all  the 
vigour  which  Jenny's  spare  hand 
could  impart.     Across  its  back, 
pannier    fashion,    hung    on   one 
side  John's  weather-worn  fiddle- 
case,  while  on  the  other  was  a 
bag  of  apples,  an  article  in  which 
the  wife  dealt    in  a   small  way. 
Last  of  all,  came  John,  led  by 
the  tail  of  the  reluctant  quadruped  ;  so  that  the  whole  cavalcade  moved 
in  a  piece — Jenny  pulling  at  the  horse,  and  the  horse  pulling  at  John  ; 
and  in  this  way  the  party  managed  to  make  out  their  journeys  through 

Besides  these  mendicants  and  peripatetic  minstrels,  natural  idiots,  or 
'  daft  folk,'  as  they  were  called,  haunted  the  town  and  county,  some 
harmless  and  amusing,  and  others  vicious  and  troublesome.  Among  the 
amusing  class,  none  was  more  welcome  as  a  temporary  visitor  than 
'  Daft  Jock  Grey,'  a  native  of  Selkirkshire,  which,  as  well  as  the  adjoining 
counties,  he  wandered  over  during  the  first  twenty  years  of  the  present 
century,  and  who  is  generally  considered  to  have  been  the  original 
of  Scott's  '  Davie  Gellately.'  There  was  at  least  some  resemblance 
between  the  real  and  imaginary  character.  Jock  was  a  kind  of  genius, 
had  a  great  command  of  songs,  and  wholly  or  partly  composed  a 
ballad,  which,  commencing  with  an  aljusion  to  his  own  infirmity, 
recited  in  jingling  rhymes  the  names  and  qualities  of  a  number  of 
those  whose  houses  he  frequented  in  his  migrations  between  Hawick 
and  Peebles.  He  was  also  a  mimic,  and  as  such  gave  acceptable 
imitations  of  the  style  of  preaching  of  all  the  ministers  in  his  rounds. 
The  great  novelist  could  not  fail  to  know  and  be  amused  with  Jock  and 
his  harmless  drolleries. 

Some  of  the  old  popular  usages  of  Scotland  were  at  this  time  still 
prevalent  in  Peebles.  Hogmanay,  or  the  last  day  of  the  year,  was 
consecrated  to  gifts  of  cakes,  short-bread,  and  buns,  distributed  at  the 
doors  to  children.  On  this  day,  also,  tradesmen  called  personally  with 
their  yearly  accounts,  of  which  they  received  payment,  along  with  some 
appropriate  refreshment.  There  was  first-footing  on  New-year's  morning. 
And  Handsel  Monday  was  marked  by  tossing  a  profusion  of  ballads 



and  penny  chap-books  from  windows  among  crowds  of  clamorous 
youngsters.  At  this  festive  season  there  was  likewise  much  pleasant 
intercourse  among  relations,  calculated  to  allay  family  differences.  The 
severity  of  manners  recorded  a  hundred  years  earlier  had  worn  off. 
There  was  unrebuked  jovialty  at  births  and  marriages,  and  even  in  a 
solemn  way  at  deaths.  In  the  house  of  the  deceased,  on  the  evening 
before  the  funeral,  there  was  a  Lychwake,  consisting  of  a  succession  of 
services,  presided  over  by  the  undertaker,  one  of  whose  professional 
recommendations  consisted  in  saying  a  fresh  grace  to  each  batch  of 
visitors.  The  consumption  of  liquors,  whisky  in  particular,  at  these 
lugubrious  entertainments  was  incredible,  and  sometimes  seriously 
encroached  on  the  means  of  families.  The  practice  of  inviting  attend- 
ance at  funerals  by  public  proclamation  had  disappeared  about  the  end 
of  the  eighteenth  century;  but  the  invitations  were  still  given  on  a  pretty 
broad  scale  by  the  verbal  message  of  an  official ;  and  all  who  attended, 
finished  off  with  an  entertainment  called  the  Dregy,  which  was  a  degree 
more  cheerful  than  the  preceding  potations. 

Although  the  belief  in  witchcraft  had  died  out  generally,  it  was  still 
entertained  in  a  limited  way  by  the  less  enlightened  classes.  We  have 
a  distinct  recollection  of  a  poor  old  woman,  who  lived  in  a  thatched 
house  in  the  Northgate,  being  reputed  a  witch  ;  and  that  it  was  not  safe 
to  pass  her  dwelling  without  placing  the  thumb  across  the  fourth-finger, 
so  as  to  form  the  figure  of  the  cross.  This  species  of  exorcism  we 
practised,  under  instructions,  when  a  child.  We  have  likewise  seen  salt 
thrown  on  the  fire,  as  a  guard  against  the  evil  eye,  when  aged  women 
suspected  of  being  not  quite  canny,  happened  to  call  at  a  neighbour's 
dwelling.  All  such  lingering  remains  of  a  once  formidable  superstition 
have  long  since  happily  vanished. 

To  complete  the  picture  of  society  in  Peebles  in  the  earlier  years  of 
the  present  century,  it  would  be  necessary  to  keep  in  mind  that  domestic 
accommodation  was  still  on  a  very  imperfect  scale.  The  apartments  were 
small  and  few  in  number ;  many  houses  even  of  a  good  kind,  consisting 
only  of^a  kitchen,  parlour,  and  bed-closet.  In  perhaps  not  more  than  two 
dozen  dwellings  were  there  any  carpets ;  horn  spoons  were  giving  way 
to  pewter ;  and  silver  forks  were  of  course  unheard  of.  There  was  no 
reading-room,  and  the  two  or  three  newspapers  which  arrived  daily  or 
semi-weekly,  were  handed  about  in  clubs.  The  transit  of  goods  from 
Edinburgh  was  conducted  by  a  few  carriers'  carts,  which  were  some- 
times obstructed  for  clays  by  heavy  snow-storms  in  winter.  On  one 
occasion  of  this  kind,  there  was  a  dearth  of  salt  in  the  town  for  a  fort- 
night. Shortly  before  the  period  here  referred  to,  there  was  a  tax  on 
clocks  and  watches,  and  from  the  returns  of  the  surveyor,  the  following 
facts  are  learned  concerning  the  number  of  these  articles  in  Peeblesshire 


in  1797.  In  the  town  of  Peebles,  15  clocks,  19  silver,  and  2  gold 
watches ;  in  the  country  part  of  the  parish,  4  clocks,  5  silver,  and  no 
gold  watches.  In  the  whole  county,  town  and  parish  of  Peebles 
included,  106  clocks,  112  silver,  and  35  gold  watches. 

1804. — Notice  taken  of  the  regiment  of  Peeblesshire  Volunteer 
Infantry,  under  command  of  Lord  Elibank,  and  the  troop  of  Gentlemen 
Yeomanry  Cavalry,  commanded  by  Captain  Sir  James  Montgomery,  now 
quartered  in  the  town.  '  The  military  strength  of  this  county  consists 
in  all  of  six  hundred  and  three,  including  the  troop  of  forty-five  Yeomanry 
Cavalry,  all  properly  regimented  and  disciplined.' — B.  R. — June  21, 
1805.  The  Volunteers  march  to  Kelso,  to  remain  fourteen  days  on 
permanent  duty. — B.  R. — While  at  Kelso,  they  are  taken  within  the 
English  border,  a  thing  still  talked  about  by  survivors  of  the  corps. 

1806,  March  15. — The  member  for  the  district  of  burghs  gives  up 
sending  a  London  newspaper,  daily,  to  the  council,  and  they  order  one 
on  their  own  account. — B.  R.  We  see,  however,  that  in  1812,  the 
member  asks  what  London  paper  the  council  would  like  him  to  send, 
and  they  say  they  would  prefer  the  Star. 

Hitherto,  the  principal  inn  in  Peebles  had  been  that  in  the  Northgate, 
the  inadequate  accommodation  of  which  led  to  the  project  of  a  new 
hotel,  on  the  Tontine  principle,  in  October  1806.  The  building  was 
begun,  and  finished  in  1808.  The  capital  subscribed  was  ^£3950,  in 
fifty-eight  shares  of  ^25  each ;  altogether,  the  establishment  cost  the 
proprietors  ^4030,  in  which  was  included  ^900  as  the  price  of  the 
old  houses  on  the  site.  In  1809,  the  ladies  very  spiritedly  subscribed 
^150  to  paint  the  ball-room.  The  principle  in  the  agreement  of  the 
proprietors  was,  '  any  age  to  be  entered,  and  the  longest  liver  to  have 
right  to  the  whole.'  In  several  cases,  shares  were  taken  on  the  lives  of 
the  same  nominees.  The  actual  number  of  nominees  was  144.  At  the 
beginning  of  1855,  there  were  seventy-four  nominees  alive  ;  and  now 
(1864)  there  are  53.  As  an  investment,  the  enterprise,  as  is  usual 
with  Tontine  schemes,  has  not  come  up  to  expectation ;  but  as  a 
county  hotel,  the  concern  is  not  to  be  merely  viewed  in  a  pecuniary 

1807. — This  year,  much  excitement  in  the  town  concerning  the  election 
of  a  member  of  parliament  for  the  district  of  burghs,  of  which  Peebles  is 
the  presiding  burgh.  The  candidates  were  Sir  Charles  Ross  of  Balna- 
gown,  and  Mr  William  Maxwell  of  Carriden,  this  last  commanding  the 
popular  favour.  The  council  had  a  choice  of  two  persons  to  act  as 
commissioner — Mr  Robert  Nutter  Campbell  of  Kailzie,  and  Sir  James 
Naesmyth.  As  favourable  to  Maxwell,  Sir  James  was  voted  for  by  ten 
out  of  the  seventeen  members  of  council ;  and  in  consideration  of  their 
withstanding  the  arguments  to  which  they  were  exposed,  they  acquired 


celebrity  as  '  the  steady  ten.'  May  30. — Maxwell  is  returned  as  member, 
amidst  immense  public  rejoicing. 

Oct.  7. — Council  met,  Thomas  Smibert,  provost ;  the  street  is  ordered 
to  be  repaired,  and  a  ring  of  stones  is  to  be  placed  in  the  pavement 
where  the  cross  had  stood. — B.  R.  The  ancient  cross  of  Peebles, 
noticed  in  many  parts  of  our  narrative,  was  now,  on  the  score  of  being 
ruinous,  wantonly  taken  down,  and  the  materials  ordered  to  be  sold. 
The  shaft  was  fortunately  procured  by  Sir  John  Hay,  Baronet,  and 
preserved  by  him  in  his  grounds  till  better  times. 

1808-10. — The  country  being  now  in  the  heat  of  the  French  war, 
there  was  a  great  pressure  for  men  for  the  army.  Recruiting  parties 
attended  and  beat  up  at  every  fair,  causing  indescribable  excitement. 
The  ballot  for  the  militia  being  also  in  full  operation,  clubs  were  organ- 
ised to  provide  substitutes,  who  could  not  be  obtained  under  ^40  to 
£$o  each.  As  an  exemption  from  the  ballot,  young  men  enrolled 
themselves  in  a  regiment  of  local  militia  which  was  raised  in  the  county, 
and  continued  in  existence  several  years.  This  regiment,  about  700 
strong,  mustered  once  a  year  for  fourteen  days  in  Peebles  ;  its  uniforms 
and  accoutrements  being  in  the  interval  stored  in  Neidpath  Castle,  under 
the  guardianship  of  a  respectable  old  soldier,  Sergeant  Veitch. 

About  this  period,  the  judicial  business  of  the  town  was  far  from  what 
it  has  become  under  various  statutes  connected  with  police  and  prison 
management.  Offenders  were  usually  captured  by  a  town  officer,  at  the 
verbal  command  of  the  provost,  who  administered  justice  in  an  off-hand 
way  from  behind  his  counter,  amidst  miscellaneous  dealings  with 
customers,  and  ordered  off  alleged  delinquents  to  prison,  without  keeping 
any  record  of  the  transaction.  Dismission  from  confinement  often 
took  place  in  the  like  abrupt  and  arbitrary  manner.  In  some  instances, 
as  we  can  remember,  the  provost,  acting  as  constable  and  prosecutor, 
dragged  into  his  shop  for  trial,  boys  whom  he  caught  flagrante  delicti — 
the  apprentice  being  hurriedly  despatched  for  Drummer  Will,  to  finish 
the  affair.  There  was  a  rude  simplicity  about  all  this,  which  strangely 
contrasts  with  the  artistic  and  deliberate  proceedings  of  modern  times. 

It  is  also  a  fact  not  less  consistent  with  the  recollections  of  persons 
still  living,  that  the  town  officers,  in  their  uniforms,  were  occasionally 
employed  by  one  of  the  schoolmasters,  to  assist  him  in  holding  down 
obstreperous  pupils,  when  they  were  laid  across  a  table  to  be  punished  with 
lashes  on  the  bare  back.  It  was  our  misfortune  to  see  such  exhibitions  of 
school  discipline  ;  and  not  the  least  strange  thing  about  them  was,  that 
they  evoked  remark  neither  from  magistrates  nor  the  public — so  different 
were  people's  feelings  little  more  than  half  a  century  ago  from  what 
they  are  at  present.  At  this  period,  school  education  in  other  places 
besides  Peebles  was  conducted  on  principles  of  vengeance  and  terror. 


Shortly  after  the  recommencement  of  the  war,  in  1803,  Peebles 
became  a  de'pot  for  prisoners  of  war  on  parole ;  not  more,  however, 
than  twenty  or  thirty  of  these  exiles  arrived  at  this  early  period.  They 
were  mostly  Dutch  and  Walloons,  with  afterwards  a  few  Danes — unfor- 
tunate mariners  seized  on  the  coast  of  the  Netherlands,  and  sent  to 
spend  their  lives  in  an  inland  Scottish  town.  These  men  did  not 
repine.  They  nearly  all  betook  themselves  to  learn  the  art  of  hand- 
loom  weaving,  at  that  time  a  flourishing  craft  in  Peebles.  At  leisure 
hours,  they  might  be  seen  fishing  in  long  leather  boots,  as  if  glad  to 
procure  a  few  trouts  and  eels,  and,  at  the  same  time,  satisfy  the  desire 
to  dabble  in  the  water.  In  1810,  a  large  accession  was  made  to  this 
body  of  prisoners  of  war,  by  the  arrival  of  upwards  of  a  hundred 
officers  of  an  entirely  different  quality — French,  Poles,  and  Italians,  in 
a  variety  of  strange  and  tarnished  uniforms,  fresh  from  the  seat  of  war. 
Gentlemanly  in  manners,  they  made  for  themselves  friends  in  the  town 
and  neighbourhood ;  those  among  them  who  were  surgeons  occasionally 
assisting  at  medical  consultations.  It  added  somewhat  to  their  comfort 
that  the  occupant  of  the  Tontine  Hotel,  Mr  Lenoir,  was  a  French- 
Belgian.  During  their  stay,  they  set  up  a  private  theatre  in  an  upper 
apartment  of  the  building  now  used  as  a  Corn  Exchange,  in  which  they 
enlivened  the  town  by  performing  gratuitously  some  of  the  plays  of 
Corneille  and  Moliere.  After  a  residence  of  more  than  a  year,  the  whole 
were  abruptly  ordered  off,  chiefly  to  Sanquhar  in  Dumfriesshire ;  their  hasty 
departure  inflicting  considerable  injury  on  the  town,  for  a  number  of 
them  had  contracted  debts  which  they  were  unable  to  liquidate.  Some 
insolvencies  took  place  in  consequence.  Three  regiments  of  militia 
now  successively  occupied  Peebles  until  the  peace  of  1814. 

The  species  of  stage-carriage  employed  on  the  road  between  Peebles 
and  Edinburgh,  at  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  was  a  plain 
wooden  vehicle  placed  on  two  wheels,  and  was  without  springs. 
William  Wilson's  Caravan,  as  this  primitive  species  of  carriage  was 
called,  was  drawn  by  a  single  horse,  which  walked  the  distance,  22 
miles,  stoppages  included,  in  the  space  of  ten  hours.  It  left  Peebles  at 
eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  arrived  at  the  Grassmarket,  Edinburgh, 
at  six  o'clock  in  the  evening.  The  fare  charged  for  each  passenger  was 
2S.  6d.  The  Caravan,  which  was  in  operation  as  late  as  about  1806, 
was  superseded  by  the  Fly,  which  resembled  an  old-fashioned  post- 
chaise.  It  accommodated  three  insides,  and  one  outside  on  an  uneasy 
swinging  seat,  along  with  the  driver — fare,  inside,  icxr.  6d.  The  Fly  was 
drawn  by  two  horses,  and,  including  a  stoppage  of  an  hour  at  Howgate, 
they  made  out  the  journey  in  five  hours.  As  this  machine  went  only  one 
day,  and  returned  the  next,  it  accommodated  no  more  than  twelve 
passengers  in  the  week;  and,  at  particular  times,  to  secure  a  seat, 


passengers  required  to  be  booked  a  week  in  advance.  Yet,  as  only  the 
more  affluent  classes  could  afford  to  take  places  in  the  Fly,  many 
persons  adopted  a  less  legitimate  course.  Walking  a  short  way  out  on  the 
public  road,  they  tried  the  chance  of  getting  a  ride  by  bribing  the  driver 
with  a  shilling ;  and  by  a  hangy  of  this  kind,  the  Fly  was  on  one  occa- 
sion robbed  of  the  mail-bag  in  the  course  of  the  journey  to  Edinburgh. 

The  days  of  the  Fly  came  to  an  end  about  1825,  when  there  was 
established  one  of  Mr  Croall's  stage-coaches,  endowed  with  the  capacity 
of  running  over  the  ground  in  the  abbreviated  space  of  three  hours,  and 
which  possessed  the  additional  recommendation  of  going  and  returning 
in  one  day — fares,  latterly,  5^.  inside.  This  coach,  with  a  change  of 
horses  thrice  on  the  road,  continued  until  our  own  times;  at  length 
disappearing  only  when  the  accommodation  it  presented  was  found  to 
be  inadequate  to  the  public  wants.  Persons  acquainted  with  the  comforts 
and  speed  of  railway  transit,  could  not  endure  with  patience  a  rate  of 
travelling  which  accomplished  22  miles  in  three,  and  sometimes,  in 
unfavourable  states  of  the  roads,  three  hours  and  a  quarter.  But, 
further  than  this,  the  district  of  country  of  which  Peebles  is  the  centre, 
being  naturally  deficient  of  coal,  lime,  and  sandstone,  these,  along  with 
other  materials,  require  to  be  brought  from  a  distance  ;  and  for  these, 
and  all  kinds  of  goods-traffic  to  and  fro,  the  only  available  conveyance 
was  still  by  single-horse  carts — a  slow  and  inconvenient  method  of 
transit,  which  told  heavily  on  the  interests  of  the  county. 

After  several  abortive  attempts  to  form  a  railway  in  connection  with 
Peebles,  a  fresh  endeavour  was  made  in  1852,  on  which  occasion  a 
prudential  care  was  taken  to  confine  the  enterprise  within  such  pecuniary 
limits  as  were  likely  to  be  attainable  in  the  district.  For  this  purpose, 
a  single  line,  to  branch  from  the  North  British  Railway  at  or  near 
Eskbank,  was  along  aimed  at ;  and  the  project  was  placed  in  the  hands 
of  Mr  T.  Bouch,  a  civil  engineer  who  enjoys  a  reputation  for  contriving 
economical  works  of  this  nature.  The  line  was  to  be  about  i8£  miles 
long,  which,  added  to  the  portion  to  be  travelled  over  on  the  North 
British  line,  made  the  entire  length  to  Edinburgh  about  27  miles — a 
circuit  unavoidable  in  the  circumstances.  A  bill  to  execute  the  desired 
line  was  carried  through  parliament  without  opposition,  and  became  a 
law  (16  and  17  Viet.  cap.  Ixxviii.)  8th  July  1853.  The  railway  company 
so  constituted  was  empowered  to  raise  a  capital  of  ,£70,000,  in 
shares  of  £10  each,  and  to  borrow,  in  addition,  the  sum  of  £"23,000  ; 
making  a  total  of  ,£93,000.  In  1857,  another  act  authorised  the 
creation  of  new  shares  to  the  extent  of  £27,000,  in  £10  shares,  guaran- 
teed 5  per  cent,  per  annum;  making  in  all  a  capital  of  £120,000. 
The  line  was  opened  for  traffic  on  the  4th  of  July  1855  ;  and  in  1861,  it 
was  leased  in  perpetuity,  by  the  Peebles  Railway  Company,  to  the 


North  British  Railway  Company,  which  now  works  the  traffic  on  terms 
mutually  advantageous. 

Such  is  an  account  of  the  first  railway  in  Peeblesshire,  an  undertaking 
which  has,  in  all  respects,  been  as  successful,  and  proved  as  beneficial  to 
local  interests,  as  was  anticipated.  In  1864,  a  great  accession  was  made 
to  railway  communication.  At  the  cost  of  the  North  British  Company, 
the  Peebles  line  was  continued  down  the  Vale  of  Tweed  to  Innerleithen 
and  Galashiels.  The  northern  section  of  the  county  was  traversed  by  a 
line  formed  by  an  independent  company,  branching  from  Leadburn  to 
Linton  and  Dolphinton.  And  at  the  same  time,  from  Peebles  westward 
by  Stobo  and  Broughton,  the  Caledonian  Company  opened  a  line  in 
connection  with  Symington  and  Glasgow.  By  these  several  means, 
Peebles  has  become  the  centre  of  a  system  of  railroads  branching  in 
every  available  direction,  and  calculated  materially  to  advance  its 
interests,  as  well  as  to  benefit  the  county  generally. 

About  the  time  when  the  Fly  was  superseded  by  the  stage-coach, 
there  was,  for  the  first  time,  a  bank  established  in  Peebles,  namely, 
an  agency  of  the  British  Linen  Company,  which  was  set  on  foot  in  1825. 
Till  this  branch  was  opened,  all  drafts  and  payments  required  to  be 
transacted  by  means  of  carriers  to  and  from  the  banks  in  Edinburgh. 
Afterwards,  there  was  established  an  agency  of  the  Union  Bank,  and 
more  recently,  one  of  the  Bank  of  Scotland  ;  and  looking  to  the  extent 
of  their  business,  the  wonder  now  is,  how  they  should  have  been  so  long 
in  being  planted  in  the  town. 

It  is  not  less  remarkable  that,  as  a  county  town,  Peebles  should  have 
had  no  printer,  until  a  small  press  was  set  up,  about  1816,  by  the  late  Mr 
Alexander  Elder,  a  man  of  considerable  ingenuity  and  enterprise.  His 
very  limited  establishment  has  been  succeeded  by  a  printing  concern  of 
much  wider  scope,  whence  is  issued,  weekly,  the  Peeblesshire  Advertiser, 
a  journal  commenced  in  1845,  which  has  been  of  much  service  in 
fostering  local  improvements. 

In  1846,  the  town-council,  the  inhabitants,  and  their  friends  in  different 
quarters  of  the  country,  by  a  united  effort,  raised  upwards  of  £1000  to 
effect  various  public  .and  desirable  improvements  in  Peebles.  The  High 
Street  was  lowered  two  to  three  feet  throughout  its  entire  length  ;  drains 
were  built ;  unsightly  projecting  buildings  and  stairs  were  removed ;  and 
the  side-ways,  so  cleared,  were  laid  with  pavement.  By  a  fresh  effort, 
a  joint-stock  association  introduced  water  into  the  town,  alike  for  the 
service  of  public  wells  and  private  houses.  Gas  had  a  number  of  years 
previously  been  introduced  by  a  joint-stock  company.  In  consequence 
of  these  improvements,  along  with  some  late  renovations,  the  principal 
street  may  vie  in  appearance  with  that  of  any  provincial  town  of  similar 


Of  various  matters  of  interest,  including  old  houses  with 
characteristic  features,  in  Peebles,  some  notice  may  now  be 
taken.  The  most  conspicuous  edifice  of  an  old  date  is  a  massive 
building  on  the  south  side  of  High  Street,  with  turrets  at  its 
corners,  now  forming  the  front  of  the  CHAMBERS  INSTITUTION. 

Fig.  31. — Chambers  Institution,  formerly  Queensberry  Lodging. 

This  remarkable  building,  a  good  specimen  of  the  old  Scottish 
style  of  domestic  architecture,  at  one  time  belonged  to  the  Cross 
Church,  and  by  a  charter  of  James  VI.,  1624,  came  into  the 
possession  of  the  Hays,  Lords  Yester,  afterwards  Earls  of 
Tweeddale  ;  from  whom,  in  1687,  it  passed  to  William,  first 
Duke  of  Queensberry,  in  liferent,  and  to  his'  second  son,  Lord 
William  Douglas,  first  Earl  of  March,  in  fee.  The  property  was 
thus  acquired  by  the  Queensberry  family,  about  the  time  the 
duke  obtained  possession  of  Neidpath.  According  to  a  tradition 
in  Peebles,  this  tenement  was  formerly  called  the  Dean's  House. 
Opposite  the  mansion,  there  was,  at  no  distant  day,  an  open 
drain,  named  the  Dean's  Gutter ;  and  here,  on  the  north  side  of 
the  street,  is  an  alley  still  called  the  Dean's  Wynd.  The  Dean's 

PEEBLES — BURGH.  28  f 

House  bears  the  appearance  of  having  undergone  several  alter- 
ations. Looking  at  the  various  circumstances  connected  with  it, 
we  have  little  difficulty  in  concluding,  that  from  being  originally 
a  mansion  belonging  to  a  distinguished  churchman,  it  was 
modernised  by  the  Yester  family  on  coming  into  their  possession, 
and  subsequently  improved  by  the  Duke  of  Queensberry,  about 
1690,  as  a  town  mansion  for  his  son,  the  Earl  of  March.  Under 
the  name  of  Queensberry  Lodging,  it  was,  jointly  with  Neidpath, 
the  residence  of  the  first  and  second  Earls  of  March  ;  and  here 
the  third  earl,  subsequently  fourth  Duke  of  Queensberry,  was 
born  on  the  i6th  of  December  1725.  In  1781,  the  property  was 
sold  by  the  duke  to  Dr  James  Reid,1  by  whom,  and  by  his  son, 
Dr  John  Reid,  it  was  many  years  possessed  ;  and  from  the  last 
survivor  of  the  family  it  was  acquired,  in  1857,  to  be  put  to  its 
present  uses,  which  are  briefly  indicated  in  the  following  inscrip- 
tion on  a  tablet  fronting  the  street :  '  This  Edifice,  successively 
the  Property  of  the  Cross  Church,  the  Hays,  Lords  Yester, 
Earls  of  Tweeddale,  the  Douglases,  Earls  of  March,  and  the 
Fourth  Duke  of  Queensberry,  was  finally  acquired  by  WILLIAM 
CHAMBERS,  and  for  purposes  of  Social  Improvement,  presented 
by  him  as  a  Free  Gift  to  his  Native  Town,  1857.'  On  acquiring 
the  building,  Mr  Chambers  entirely  remodelled  the  interior,  with 
the  exception  oT  the  vaulted  ground-floor,  renewed  the  windows, 
and  added  appropriate  pointed  roofs  to  the  flanking  turrets. 
Behind,  some  low  edifices  were  taken  down  and  rebuilt ;  and  to 

1  Dr  Reid,  the  purchaser  of  Queensberry  Lodging,  and  provost  of  the  burgh  for  a 
number  of  years,  was  a  man  eminent  in  his  profession,  the  friend  of  Cullen,  Gregory, 
and  other  lights  of  his  time,  and  was  excelled  by  few  as  a  bold  and  skilful  operator. 
People  with  mysterious  ailments  came  to  consult  him  from  places  many  miles  distant ; 
but  it  was  chiefly  as  a  surgeon  that  he  gained  his  wide  reputation.  His  decision  and 
self-reliance  were  remarkable.  An  anecdote  used  to  be  told  of  his  having  on  one 
occasion,  at  midnight,  performed  a  hazardous  and  difficult  operation  for  the  relief  of 
an  internal  complaint  on  the  person  of  a  shepherd  in  a  remote  shieling  among  the  hills. 
There  being  no  one  to  assist  him,  he  stuck  a  candle  in  a  hole  which  he  cut  in  the  front 
of  his  hat ;  and  with  this  imperfect  light  he  effected  his  object,  and  saved  the  life  of  his 
patient  As  provost,  he  exercised  considerable  influence  In  manner  and  appearance, 
he  belonged  to  the  gentlemen  of  the  old  school ;  dressed  in  hair-powder  and  a  cocked- 
hat,  wore  frills  at  his  wrists,  and  was  usually  booted  ready  for  the  saddle.  He  died  in 


close  the  south  side  of  the  interior  quadrangle,  there  was  erected 
a  spacious  hall.  In  the  centre  of  the  quadrangle,  as  represented 
in  fig.  32.  was  placed  the  shaft  of  the  old  cross  of  Peebles, 
gifted  to  the  burgh  by  Sir  Adam  Hay.  Thus  completed,  the 

Fig-  32. — Quadrangle,  Cross,  and  Hall,  Chambers  Institution. 

Institution  was  ceremoniously  opened,  August  u,  1859.  It  com- 
prehends (i.)  A  public  Lending  Library  of  15,000  volumes,  to 
which  new  works  are  constantly  being  added  ;  (2.)  A  Reference 
Library  of  upwards  of  500  volumes  ;  (3.)  A  public  Reading- 
room,  and  several  rooms  for  private  study  ;  (4.)  A  Gallery  of  Art, 
with  a  miscellaneous  museum  ;  (5.)  A  County  Musuem,  being 
a  collection  of  objects  illustrative  of  the  Fauna,  Flora,  and 
Mineralogy  of  Peeblesshire  ;  and  (6.)  A  Hall,  74  by  34  feet,  for 
lectures  and  public  meetings.  The  whole  are  under  the 
charge  of  a  resident  keeper.  The  Institution  is  maintained 
partly  by  endowment,  and  partly  by  small  fees  payable  by 
visitors  and  others.  During  winter,  the  lectures  in  the  hall, 
concerts,  and  other  popular  entertainments,  are  usually  well 
attended.  The  library,  situated  in  the  ancient  building  in  front, 
is  arranged  round  an  open  gallery  overhanging  the  reading- 



room,  as  represented  in  fig.  33.  Books  from  the  library  are 
circulated  all  over  the  county.  The  Institution,  in  all  its  parts, 
was  made  over  by  Mr  Chambers  as  a  gift  to  the  community  ; 

F'g.  33- — Library  and  Reading-room,  Chambers  Institution. 

and  as  such,  is  held  in  trust  by  the  corporation  of  the  burgh. 
There  is  a  body  of  directors,  some  of  whom  are  elected,  and 
others  are  persons  holding  office  in  the  town  and  county.  The 
Institution  is  managed  chiefly,  however,  by  a  secretary  and  the 
resident  keeper.  As  the  principal  sight  in  the  town,  it  is  much 
frequented  by  strangers,  who  are  conducted  through  the  several 
departments.  Whether  as  regards  social  improvement,  the 
Institution  will  realise  the  expectations  and  wishes  of  its  founder, 
remains  to  be  determined.  In  the  meanwhile,  it  is  usually  spoken 
of  as  an  attraction  to  the  town  and  neighbourhood ;  and  with  the 
increase  of  population,  its  usefulness  will  perhaps  become  more 

At  a  short  distance  westward  from  the  Institution,  on  the  same 
side  of  the  street,  is  the  Town-hall,  a  plain  edifice  of  the  date 
1753  ;  behind  it  is  a  building  lately  remodelled  into  a  Corn 
Exchange.  Directly  opposite,  on  the  north  side  of  the  High 
Street,  is  a  tenement  of  three  stories,  which  was  built  on  the  site 



1 7  I/:  W- 

of  the   Tolbooth   and   Council-house,    alluded   to   in  the  older 
records  of  the  burgh.     Adjoining  it  on  the  east, 
is  a  lower  and  more  ancient  tenement,  which 
was  for  many  generations  occupied  by  a  family 
named  Turnbull,  bakers,  who  were  more  par- 
ticularly renowned  for  baking  shortbread  and 
gingerbread,  for  which  they  gave  the  town  some 
degree  of  celebrity.     These  Turnbulls  are  men- 
tioned  in   the  oldest   existing   records  of  the 
burgh.      On   the   front   of   the    building   is   a 
stone  with  carvings  emblematic  of  the  profession 
Stone  in  House  of  the  of   the    proprietors,   with    an    inscription    and 
Turnbulls.         date,  as  represented  in  fig.   34,  but  the  whole 
considerably  defaced. 

A  small  projecting  building,  east  from  the  Chambers  Institu- 
tion, is  said  to  have  been  the  surgery  of  the  lamented  Mungo 
Park,1  during  his  residence  in  Peebles,  1801-2  (his  dwelling-house 
being  at  the  head  of  the  Briggate,  north  side),  previous  to  his 
second  and  fatal  journey  in  Africa. 

In  a  close  behind  what  was  Park's  humble  laboratory,  also  in 
several  other  parts  of  the  eastern  and  less  altered  portions  of  the 
High  Street,  may  still  be  seen  buildings  with  vaulted  floors,  level 
with  the  street.  Such  are  the  interesting  relics  of  the  bastel- 
houses,  erected  for  security  against  the  attack  of  border  invaders. 
A  conspicuous  specimen  of  a  vaulted  building,  nearly  entire  in 
all  its  parts,  is  presented  in  a  tall  old  house  opposite  the  Episcopal 
chapel,  now  among  the  last  of  the  thatched  houses  in  Peebles. 
It  may  be  observed  that  this  edifice,  besides  being  vaulted,  is 
provided  with  an  arched  passage — a  kind  of  small  porte-cochere, 

1  In  this  miserable  den  did  Park  experience  some  of  the  difficulties  incidental  to  the 
life  of  a  country  surgeon,  and  pine  for  that  kind  of  employment  as  a  traveller  which  he 
felt  to  be  his  destiny.  Who,  in  looking  at  the  place  now,  can  wonder  at  his  resolution 
to  prosecute  his  career  in  a  more  fitting  field  of  enterprise  ?  Persons  still  alive  in 
Peebles  remember  Mungo  Park,  and  his  Arabic  teacher,  Sidi  Omback  Boubi,  a  native 
of  Mogadore.  Omback  the  Moor,  as  he  was  familiarly  styled,  was  a  considerable 
marvel  in  his  way  to  the  people  of  Peebles ;  for  he  was  a  stanch  Mussulman  in  his 
belief  and  usages,  and  probably  the  only  specimen  of  a  Mohammedan  who,  by  a 
singular  conjuncture  of  circumstances,  had  ever  been  resident  in  the  burgh. 


which,  giving  admission  to  the  premises  above,  was  once  guarded 
with  a  gate,  and  secured  the  dwelling  from  intrusion.  We 
consider  that  the  building,  as  it  stands,  offers  a  good  example 
of  the  better  class  of  houses,  erected  by  substantial  burgesses 
early  in  the  sixteenth  century. 

Eastwards  from  this  building,  at  the  foot  of  a  lane,  is  the 
existing  portion  of  the  town-wall  previously  pictured.  It  is  in  a 
line  with  the  wall  on  the  inner  side  of  the  Vennel,  at  the  head  of 
which  was  the  East  Port.  At  this  point,  the  Vennel  terminates 
in  a  long  white  building,  of  not  a  very  ancient  date,  which  used 
to  be  called  Quebec  Hall,  from  having  been  the  residence  of 
Francis  Russell,  Esq.,  late  Director  of  the  Military  Hospital  at 

The  corner  building  on  the  left,  in  turning  from  the  High 
Street  into  the  Northgate,  is  known  as  the  Cunzie  Neuk.  As 
the  building  is  apparently  not  older  than  the  beginning  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  the  name  is  inherited  from  a  house  previously 
on  the  spot,  which  is  spoken  of  as  the  Cunzie,  or  Cunye,  as  early 
as  1473.  The  designation  is  probably  from  coign,  an  old  English 
term  for  corner.  Opposite,  on  the  east  side  of  the  entrance  to 
the  Northgate,  and,  like  the  Cunzie,  fronting  the  old  cross, 
formerly  stood  a  handsome  structure,  partly  of  red  sandstone, 
with  an  open  arcade  in  front.  This  building,  known  as  the 
Pillars,  was  alleged  by  tradition  to  have  been  the  town-mansion 
of  the  family  of  Posso  ;  falling  into  ruin,  in  the  early  part  of  the 
present  century,  it  was  removed,  to  make  way  for  some  substan- 
tial but  plain  tenements. 

Another  edifice  requiring  particular  notice,  is  that  forming 
an  inn  in  the  Northgate,  of  which  a  representation  has  been 
given  in  fig.  27.  It  is  located  at  the  further  side  of  a  court- 
yard, which  is  entered  by  an  old-fashioned  gateway  (lately 
widened),  over  which  is  placed  a  sun-dial.  From  this  gate- 
way the  inn  was  formerly  known  as  the  Yett ;  but  the  name 
it  now  bears  is  the  Cross-Keys.  The  building  possesses  some 
characteristic  features  of  the  seventeenth  century.  Carved  in 
stone,  is  the  date  1653  ;  and,  by  a  particular  arrangement  of 



slates,  on  the  roof,  are  the  letters  W.  W.,  in  reference  to  the 

original  proprietor.  The 
house,  as  previously  men- 
tioned, was  the  town- 
mansion  of  the  family  of 
Williamson  of  Cardrona. 
From  being  a  possession 
of  this  family,  the  house 
subsided  into  a  hotel, 
early  in  last  century.  We 
learn  from  a  manuscript 
Fig-  35-  -The  Yett.  of  Bishop  Forbes  of  Leith, 

descriptive  of  his  tour  in  Peeblesshire  in  1769,  that  in  that  year 
the  house  was  occupied  by  '  Ritchie,  Vintner.'  Mr  Ritchie  was 
succeeded  by  his  two  daughters,  Miss  and  Miss  Willie  Ritchie, 
by  whom  the  inn  and  posting  business  was  here  carried  on  till 
comparatively  recent  times.  Previous  to  the  completion  of  the 
Tontine  Hotel  in  1808,  Miss  Ritchie,  who  was  a  character  in  her 
way,  reigned  in  Peebles  without  a  rival.1 

Northwards  from  the  Cross-Keys,  at  the  head  of  Usher's 
Wynd,  may  be  seen  some  fragments  of  the  old  town-wall ; 
the  street  at  this  point  being  the  site  of  the  northern  port. 
Exterior  to  this  spot,  the  Northgate  is  a  comparatively  modern 
suburb,  of  which  the  oldest  edifice  is  one  with  a  pointed  gable  to 
the  street,  bearing  the  date  1681.  According  to  tradition,  this 
building  at  one  time  constituted  the  fashionable  assembly-room 
of  the  county. 

1  Of  the  new  and  more  fashionable  establishment,  she  always  spoke  with  that 
ineffable  scorn  which  Scott  ascribes  in  similar  circumstances  to  'Meg  Dods  of  the 
Clcikum  Inn,'  St  Ronan's,  of  whom  Miss  Ritchie  is  believed  to  have  been  the  proto- 
type. Wilh  her  eccentricities  and  rough  independence  of  manner,  it  is  something,  at 
all  events,  to  say  of  this  landlady  of  the  olden  time,  that  in  the  management  of  her 
tavern  affairs  she  always  displayed  a  conscientious  regard  for  the  interests  of  her 
customers  ;  so  that  after  a  certain,  and  as  she  thought  adequate,  quantity  of  liquor  had 
been  consumed,  no  persuasions  could  induce  her  to  furnish  means  for  fresh  pota- 
tions ;  and  when  gentlemen  were  disposed  to  sit  rather  late — not  an  uncommon  event 
sixty  years  since — she  very  unceremoniously  told  them  that  they  had  had  enough,  and 
ordered  them  '  to  gang  hatne  to  their  wives  and  bairns.' 


In  the  western  part  of  the  High  Street,  where  the  buildings 
have  been  generally  modernised,  there  are  no  relics  of  antiquity. 
The  last  of  the  vaulted  houses  in  this  quarter  disappeared  some 
years  ago,  along  with  the  projecting  outside-stairs,  which  were 
once  common  in  all  parts  of  the  town.  The  oldest  date  on  any 
of  the  houses  is  1648,  in  raised  figures  on  a  red  stone  lintel, 
rebuilt  into  a  new  house  in  one  of  the  closes.  Of  the  chapel  of 
the  Virgin,  which  stood  with  its  steeple  half  across  the  street, 
nothing  remains.  At  this  point,  the  roadway  has  been  consider- 
ably lowered  to  admit  of  more  commodious  access  to  the  two 
bridges,  and  also  to  the  County-Hall,  a  modern  structure  (1844), 
with  poor  accommodation,  placed  in  contiguity  with  the  Prison. 
Though  much  spoiled  by  the  station  of  the  Caledonian  Railway 
Company,  the  view  from  Tweed  Bridge  remains  the  finest  thing 
about  Peebles.  The  green,  also,  continues  to  be  a  pleasant  feature 
of  the  town,  bounded  on  one  side  by  gardens,  and  on  the  other  by 
the  river.  All  the  gardens  have  access  to  the  green  by  doorways, 
of  one  of  which — that  to  the  old  garden  of  the  Earls  of  March, 
now  belonging  to  the  Chambers  Institution — we  offer  a  sketch 
at  the  close  of  the  present  chapter.  It  is  worthy  of  notice,  that 
the  Tweed  at  Peebles  had,  in  early  times,  parted  into  two  or 
more  branches.  One  of  these  proceeded  from  a  point  opposite 
the  embouchure  of  Eddleston  Water  down  Ninian's  Haugh, 
while  another  went  along  the  north  side  of  the  green,  and  so 
on  down  the  hollow  called  the  Gytes.1  These  ancient  channels 
were  still  discernible  fifty  years  ago,  but  have  been  since 
obliterated  by  levelling  and  draining.  The  present  run  of  the 
Tweed  was  probably  executed  about  the  time  of  building  the 

The  modern  parish  church,  the  unfortunate  spire  of  which  has 
been  already  noticed,  was  erected  at  the  joint  expense  of  the 
town  and  heritors  ;  the  town  bearing  the  principal  part  of  the 
expense,  by  a  method  of  selling  pews  to  families. — B.  R.  In 
the  gallery,  fronting  the  pulpit,  is  a  seat  appropriated  to  the 

1  Gytt,  or  Gicht  (the  g  hard),  is  a  word  from  the  Celtic  ;  it  signifies  a  species  of 
cleft  or  ravine,  and  is  applicable  to  a  water-course  under  an  overhanging  bank. 


magistrates  and  council,  who  are  escorted  hither  by  officers  in 
scarlet  uniform,  bearing  halberts,  on  Sunday.  A  clock,  with 
transparent  dials,  recently  placed  in  the  steeple,  is  illuminated 
at  night  with  gas.  The  steeple  has  three  bells,  but  only  on 
one  is  there  an  inscription,  along  with  the  town  arms.  Tke 
inscription  is  in  Latin,  and  purports  that  the  bell  was  cast  in 
1714  by  Robert  Maxwell,  Edinburgh. 

The  church  possesses  three  silver  communion  cups,  which  have 
come  down  as  an  heritage  since  the  period  of  Episcopacy, 
previous  to  the  Revolution,  when  Peebles  was  a  rectory  in  union 
with  Manor.  These  cups,  as  appears  from  inscriptions  in  Latin 
round  the  rim,  were  respectively  gifted  to  the  church.  On  the 
first  cup  is  the  following  inscription — Legato  pio  Alexdri  W™fone 
urbis  Prcefecti  vigilentis,  curd  Ja:  Wmfone  a  Cardrona  filii  et 
haredis.  An:  S.  1684.  (Translation — By  the  pious  bequest 
of  Alexander  Williamson,  the  vigilant  provost  of  the  burgh, 
through  the  care  of  James  Williamson,  of  Cardrona,  his  son  and 
heir.  In  the  year  of  the  Saviour  1684.)  On  the  second  cup — 
Legato  pio  IO :  GO  VAN  Peeblen.  Edinburgi  qticestor.  Fidelis, 
curdM'  IO:  FRANK:  R:  S.  Scri:  An:  S.  1684.  (Transla- 
tion— By  the  pious  bequest  of  John  Govan,  native  of  Peebles, 
faithful  treasurer  of  Edinburgh  ;  through  the  care  of  John  Frank, 
writer  to  the  royal  signet.  In  the  year  of  the  Saviour  1684.)  On 
the  third  cup — „  ™  ™  va*  M"  :  IO :  HA  Y  Rectoris  de  Peebles  et 
Mener.  An:  S.  1684.  (Translation — Under  this  sign  conquer. 
[The  gift  of]  Mr  John  Hay,  Rector  of  Peebles  and  Manor.  In 
the  year  of  the  Saviour  1684.)  The  church  also  possesses  a 
laver  and  basin,  bearing  to  be  gifts  from  the  [first]  Earl  of  March. 
Each  of  the  vessels  has  the  following  inscription — This  Laver 
and  Bason  was  gifted  by  William  Earl  of  March,  to  the  Kirk  of 
Peebles,  in  the  year  1 702.  Arms  of  March,  with  the  motto — 

By  a  bridge  of  a  single  arch  from  the  New  to  the  Old  Town, 
we  cross  Eddleston  Water,  or  Cuddy  t  as  it  is  locally  termed.  At 
the  north  end  of  the  bridge,  there  exists  an  old  house  called  the 
Virgin  Inns,  on  the  gable  of  which  is  a  stone  tablet,  bearing 


a  large  figure  4,  executed  in  an  ornamental  manner,  and  the  date 
1736,  at  which  time  the  tenement  was  erected  by  James  Little, 
merchant,  son  of  Adam  Little  of  Wink- 
ston.  A  sketch  of  the  stone  is  annexed. 
As  regards  the  figure  4,  it  appears  to 
have  been  a  symbol  of  mercantile  pur- 
suits. On  old  tombstones  in  other  parts 
of  Scotland  (and  also,  as  we  have  seen, 
in  Holland),  the  same  emblem  may  be  ri£-  36. 

observed.  Fifty  years  ago,  the  figure  was  painted  and  gilt  on 
several  sign-boards  in  Peebles,  but  of  these  we  believe  no  speci- 
men now  remains. 

The  Virgin  Inns  forms  the  corner  building,  at  the  opening  of 
the  thoroughfare  called  Biggiesknowe,  from  which  a  sloping 
pathway  at  one  time  diverged  towards  the  ford  opposite  St 
Michael's  Wynd.  The  entrance  to  this  ancient  pathway  is  still 
discernible  in  the  approach  to  one  of  the  houses,  which  stands  a 
little  back.  At  the  further  extremity  of  Biggiesknowe,  a  paved 
roadway  formed  a  principal  access  to  the  Cross  Church ;  it  is 
now  encroached  upon  by  the  new  buildings  in  and  about  Elcho 
Street.  The  houses  of  Biggiesknowe,  though  part  of  the  Old 
Town,  are  all  comparatively  modern.  The  only  one  bearing  a 
date  is  a  neat  two-story  dwelling,  with  its  windows  overlooking 
Eddleston  Water,  over  the  door  of  which  are  the  figures  1796. 
This  house  was  erected  by  the  late  Mr  James  Chambers,  and 
here  his  two  elder  sons,  William  and  Robert  Chambers,  were 
born  ;  the  former  in  1800,  the  latter  in  1802. 

The  Old  Town  contains  no  bastel-houses,  a  circumstance  indica- 
tive of  its  general  desertion  previous  to  the  wars  which  ensued 
on  the  death  of  Alexander  III. ;  nor  does  it  possess  any  ancient 
remains,  excepting  the  ruins  of  the  two  old  ecclesiastical  struc- 
tures. It  consists  chiefly  of  a  humble  class  of  dwellings,  some 
of  them  thatched,  as  is  still  common  with  suburbs  in  several 
Scottish  towns.  Ascending  from  the  lower  to  the  higher  part, 
we  find  the  ancient  spacious  market-place,  circumscribed  only  by 
the  encroachment  of  some  modern  buildings  on  its  southern  side. 


This  open  space  was  in  the  centre  of  Peebles  before  it  attained 
to  the  character  of  a  royal  burgh,  or  suffered  from  the  devastating 
border  wars.  Spreading  northwards  over  the  alluvial  plain,  the 
town,  as  previously  stated,  extended  over  a  much  larger  space 
than  it  now  occupies,  and  according  to  tradition,  stretched  from 
the  Meadow-well  strand  on  the  west,  to  Eddleston  Water  on  the 
east,  involving  within  its  bounds  the  Church  of  St  Andrew  and 
the  Church  of  the  Holy  Cross. 

Now  undistinguished,  the  Old  Town  lies  on  the  road  to  Neid- 
path  Castle,  from  which,  when  at  its  full  extent,  it  was  only  about 
half  a  mile  distant.  In  the  present  day,  all  is  in  the  condition  of 
open  fields  west  of  the  churchyard,  which  forms  the  limit  of 
the  town  in  this  direction.  In  front  of  the  burying-ground, 
pleasantly  situated  on  the  Tweed,  is  a  villa,  called  Hay  Lodge, 
built  on  ground  feued  from  the  town  in  1771,  by  Captain  Adam 
Hay  of  Soonhope. — B.  R. 

The  ruins  of  the  venerable  Church  of  St  Andrew — the  church 
founded  by  Bishop  Jocelin  of  Glasgow  in  1195 — can  hardly  be 
considered  devoid  of  interest,  for  they  are  about  the  oldest  archi- 
tectural remains  in  Peeblesshire ;  and  the  institution  which  once 
here  flourished,  is  noticed  in  charters  of  various  kinds  for  several 
hundreds  of  years.  The  edifice,  built  of  the  undressed  hard 
stone  of  the  district,  could  never  have  possessed  any  external 
elegance ;  but  it  was  spacious,  with  a  tall  square  tower  at  its 
west  end,  and  contained  a  number  of  well-endowed  altars,  at  one 
of  which  the  souls  of  several  Scottish  kings  were  long  prayed 
for.  Like  many  nobler  structures,  it  was  stripped  at  the  Reforma- 
tion, and  its  revenues  confiscated  and  dispersed.  For  some  time 
after  this  event,  it  is  understood  to  have  been  used  as  the  parish 
church ;  and  if  there  be  any  faith  in  legends,  its  roof  gave  shelter 
to  the  troops  of  Cromwell,  when  laying  siege  to  Neidpath. 
Abandoned  as  the  parish  church,  it  sunk  to  ruin  ;  and,  for 
upwards  of  a  century,  the  structure  has  consisted  only  of  a  few 
broken  walls,  and  the  massive  tower,  which,  knit  together  like  a 
rock,  and  overgrown  with  yellow  lichen,  seems  to  bid  defiance 
to  all  the  blasts  which  may  sweep  down  the  Vale  of  Tweed  for 



centuries  to  come.  With  flooring  long  since  gone,  its  interior  is 
now  dotted  over  with  tumuli  and  modern  grave-stones,  as  repre- 
sented in  the  sketch,  fig.  37. 

Fig.  37.  —Ruins  of  St  Andrew's  Church. 

The  burying-ground,  large  and  secluded,  but  without  walks  through 
it,  and  otherwise  in  a  far  from  creditable  condition,  comprehends  several 
fine  old  tombstones,  with  poetical  and  other  inscriptions  worthy  of 
notice.  And  here,  again,  shines  out  conspicuously  the  good  taste  of  a 
former  period  in  art,  which  seems  to  have  survived  till  the  beginning  of 
the  eighteenth  century.  The  more  interesting  of  these  old  monuments, 
which  are  in  the  form  of  throuchs,  or  flat  table-like  stones,  are  situated  in 
the  eastern  division  of  the  ground.  Perhaps  the  oldest  of  all  is  that 
belonging  to  the  family  of  Tweedie,  once  in  flourishing  circumstances  in 
the  burgh.  It  bears  the  name  of  John  Tweedie,  bailie,  who  died  1699  ; 
another  John  Tweedie,  provost,  who  died  1712,  besides  wives,  sons,  and 
daughters.  In  allusion  to  the  number  who  have  been  conveyed  to  the 
dust,  are  the  following  lines  : 

1  A  silent,  scatter'd  flock  about  they  lie, 
Free  from  all  toil,  care,  grief,  fear,  envy; 
But  yet  again  they  all  shall  gather'd  be, 
When  the  last  awful  trumpet  soundeth  hie. ' 

This  old  stone,  which  is  fast  sinking  into  ruin,  abounds  in  well- executed 
figures,  emblematic  of  the  four  seasons : — a  husbandman  with  a  sheet 



round  his  shoulders,  in  the  act  of  sowing ;  a  woman  with  a  garland  of 
flowers  in  her  hand ;  a  young  man  with  a  reaping-hook  lying  over  his 
arm ;  and  a  boy  with  his  hands  to  his  mouth — a  significant  representa- 
tion of  winter. 

At  a  short  distance  may  be  seen  the  old  throuch-stone  of  the  Hopes, 
a  rival  in  point  of  elegance  to  that  of  the  Tweedies.  Thomas  Hope 
was  town-treasurer  at  the  beginning  of  last  century,  and  was  buried  here 
along  with  his  son  and  daughter-in-law.  The  figures  of  these  two  last- 
mentioned  persons,  carved  in  bold  relief  on  the  stone,  afford  a  striking 
idea  of  the  costume  of  the  reign  of  William  III.  The  date,  1704,  is  still 
visible,  and  we  can  also  decipher  the  following  lines  : 

'  Here  lie  three  Hopes  enclosed  within, 
Death's  prisoners  by  Adam's  sin  ; 
Yet  rest  in  Hope  that  they  shall  be 
Set  by  the  Second  Adam  free.' 

The  Hopes  are  now  extinct  in  Peebles :  the  family  merged  in  that  of 
the  late  Provost  Smibert,  who  was  interred  in  this  spot. 

In  and  about  the  ruins  of  the  church,  there  are  some  monuments  of 
old  date.  One,  a  throuch  recently  repaired,  is  that  which  marks  the 
burying-place  of  the  family  of  Chambers  for  several  hundred  years ;  also, 
the  family  of  Muir,  to  whom  they  were  related.  On  the  stone,  there  was 
formerly  visible,  in  a  dilapidated  condition,  the  following  epitaph  : 

In  Peebles  town  there  lived  a  man, 

His  name  it  was  John  Muir, 

And  Lillias  Ker,  his  loving  wife  ; 

Of  this  I  am  right  sure. 

A  proper  girl  these  two  they  had, 

Of  age  fifteen  did  die, 

And,  by  the  providence  of  God, 

Beneath  this  stone  doth  lie. 

She  was  her  parents'  only  child, 

In  her  they  pleasure  had, 

But  since  by  death  she  is  removed, 

Their  hearts  are  very  sad. 

Her  name  was  called  Helen  Muir, 

Both  modest,  mild,  and  meek, 

She  comely  in  her  person  was, 

And  every  way  complete. 

But  here  her  dust  it  must  remain, 

Until  the  judgment-day, 

And  then  it  shall  be  raised  again  ; 

This  is  the  truth  I  say. 

Then  soul  and  body  shall  unite, 

And  never  parted  be, 

To  sing  the  praises  of  her  God 

Through  all  eternity.' 

On  a  slope  on  the  side  of  the  stone,  were  the  following  additional  lines : 

'  Beneath  this  stone,  in  ground,  ye  seed  is  sown, 
Of  such  a  flower,  tho'  fallen,  ere  full  grown  ; 
And  will  when  doom  the  saints  first  spring  on  high, 
Be  sweet  and  pure  as  the  celestial  sky.' 

Inserted  in  the  north  side  of  the  steeple  is  a  plain  tablet  to  the 
memory  of  Robert  Gibson,  and  his  family,  with  the  date  1736,  and  these 
lines : 


'  My  glass  is  run, 

And  yours  is  running , 
Repent  in  time, 
For  judgment 's  coming.' 

On  a  stone  to  the  memory  of  Andrew  Brown,  who  died  1743  : 

'  Farewell,  dear  wife  and  children  all ! 

Where  you  may  still  remain, 
The  Lord  of  Hosts  be  your  defence 
Till  we  shall  meet  again.' 

We  have  space  to  notice  only  one  more  of  these  old  monuments,  a 
decaying  upright  stone,  with  some  neat  carving,  erected  in  memory  of 
Anne  Hay,  wife  of  James  Veitch,  merchant,  with  the  date  1704.  It 
contains  a  few  lines,  scarcely  rhyme,  the  affectionate  breathing  of  an 
attached  husband : 

'  No  costly  marble 

Need  on  her  be  spent, 
Her  deathless  worth 
Is  her  best  monument.' 

Near  the  gate  is  the  Strangers'  Nook,  and  here,  in  passing  out,  will  be 
observed  some  monuments  erected  over  the  remains  of  officers  of  militia, 
who  died  in  Peebles,  when  it  was  a  military  de'pot  fifty  years  ago. 
Adjoining  are  the  graves  of  several  French  officers,  who  died  while 
residing  as  prisoners  of  war  on  parole. 

At  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  mile  eastwards,  on  the  same  level 
plain,  stand  the  ruins  of  the  Cross  Church,  founded  in  1261,  and 
which,  after  the  desertion  of  the  Church  of  St  Andrew,  subsided 
into  the  parish  church.  As  such  it  was  used  until  the  completion 
of  the  new  church  in  1784,  but  not  without  having  the  eastern 
gable  rebuilt,  in  which  is  a  doorway  with  the  inscription  over  it, 
'  Feire  God,  1656.'  As  late  as  1808,  the  whole  fabric  was  entire 
except  the  roof ;  but  since  about  that  time,  the  sandstone  rybats 
having  been  improperly  abstracted,  the  building  has  shrunk  to 
an  utter  ruin.1  About  the  same  size  as  the  Church  of  St  Andrew, 
it  had  not  been  nearly  so  well  built,  for  it  seems  to  have  yielded 

1  In  1809,  an  application  was  made  by  some  people  in  Mid-Lothian  to  turn  the 
ruin  into  a  d6p6t  for  the  sale  of  coal  to  the  town  and  neighbourhood. — B.  R.  The 
proposition  met  with  the  approval  of  Provost  Smibert,  who  procured  the  assent  of  the 
Duke  of  Queensberry,  proprietor  of  the  ground  and  precincts.  From  this  degradation, 
the  ancient  church  of  the  Haly  Rude — where  kings  had  knelt,  and  to  which  hosts  of 
pious  pilgrims  had  flocked  to  bow  in  veneration  before  the  reliques  of  St  Nicholas — 
was  fortunately  spared,  in  consequence  of  the  parties  interested  having  abandoned 
their  intention. 



rapidly  to  decay,  and  much  of  the  square  tower  at  the 
western  extremity  has  given  way  within  the  last  few  years. 
The  church  had  five  windows  on  the  southern  side,  in  which 
was  the  main  entrance.  Between  the  third  window  and  the 
door,  there  was  a  small  arched  aperture,  so  constructed  as 
to  render  it  probable  that  a  figure  of  St  Nicholas  with  the 
Holy  Cross  had  been  placed  there  ;  so 
that  they  might  be  seen  by  devotees 
without  as  well  as  within  the  church.  In 
fig-  38,  we  offer  a  representation  of  St 
Nicholas  with  his  cross,  or  '  holy  rood,'  in 
his  hand,  as  the  figure  probably  appeared 
in  the  church.  On  the  south-west  corner 
of  the  tower  may  still  be  seen,  about 
ten  feet  from  the  ground,  the  remains  of 
a  niche,  in  which  the  figure  of  a  saint 
had  likewise  been  placed.  The  cloisters 
and  other  buildings  occupied  by  the 
monastics  of  the  establishment,  were  situ- 
ated in  a  quadrangle  on  the  north  side  of 
the  church,  some  portions  of  which  were 

Fig.  38.  -St  Nicholas. 

visible  in  the  early  years  of  the  present  century.  Since  that 
time,  the  ground  has  been  levelled  and  planted.  Adjoining  the 
church,  like  a  transept  on  the  north,  was  a  gallery,  forming  a 
species  of  apartment  appropriated  to  the  Earls  of  March,  and 
beneath  it  was  the  burial-vault  of  the  family ;  it  is  now  a  shape- 
less green  mound.  On  the  south  side,  are  burial  enclosures  ; 
one,  which  is  said  to  have  originally  belonged  to  the  Earls  of 
Morton,  is  now  the  burial-place  of  the  family  of  Erskine  of 
Venlaw.  The  other,  now  renovated,  is  that  of  the  Hays  of 
Haystoun  ;  and  it  is  proper  to  say  that,  at  the  expense  of 
this  family,  the  whole  place  is  now  kept  in  excellent  order.  A 
view  of  the  ruins  from  the  southern  side  is  given  in  fig.  39  (see 
following  page). 

Looking  at  the  relative  situations  of  the  two  churches,  and  the 
existing  roadway  between  them,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  they 


were  originally  connected  by  a  street,  which  formed  a  thorough- 
fare for  ecclesiastics  and  the  crowds  of  pilgrims  which  came  to 
perform  acts  of  devotion  at  the  different  shrines,  that  of  St 
Nicholas  in  particular.  From  the  New  Town,  the  direct  approach 
to  the  Cross  Church  was  by  the  Kirk-gait  or  paved  way  above 
alluded  to,  which  communicated  with  the  Briggate;  and  such 
would  be  the  passage  ordinarily  used  by  the  Dean  of  Tweeddale. 
Another  approach,  probably  more  employed  by  pilgrims  from  a 

Fig-  39- — Ruins  of  the  Cross  Church. 

distance,  was  by  a  winding  lane  on  the  east  to  a  ford,  or  series 
of  steps  across  Eddleston  Water,  which  communicated  with  two 
roads — one  towards  Edinburgh,  by  way  of  Smithfield  Castle,  the 
other  along  the  foot  of  Venlaw  Hill,  towards  the  east  country. 
Though  dreadfully  cut  up  by  railway  operations,  these  ancient 
roads  are  still  here  and  there  to  be  traced.  If  the  several  rail- 
ways which  have  made  Peebles  their  centre,  are  to  be  execrated 
for  ruthlessly  obliterating  memorials  of  the  past,  they  are  to  be 
thanked  for  introducing  life  and  enterprise  into  a  place  which 
had  been  long  listless  and  without  faith  in  the  future.  It 


certainly  is  not  the  least  surprising  of  the  changes  now  in  opera- 
tion, that  the  plain  once  covered  by  the  Old  Town  is  in  the 
course  of  being  again  occupied  by  streets  ;  and  that  Peebles,  as 
a  whole,  is  soon  likely  to  assume  a  greatly  modernised  appear- 
ance. As  stated  in  the  preceding  chapter,  its  old  corn-mill  on 
the  Tweed,  about  which  there  used  to  be  endless  contests 
respecting  thirlage  and  multures,  has  been  superseded  by  one 
of  those  extensive  manufactories  of  woollens  which  have  given 
reputation  to  the  south  of  Scotland. 

We  may  now  turn  to  a  few  miscellaneous  particulars  concerning 
the  town  and  its  institutions. 

Being  the  county  town,  Peebles  has  a  resident  sheriff-substitute ; 
and  the  sheriff-depute  makes  periodical  visits  from  Edinburgh. 
By  these  functionaries,  courts  are  regularly  held.  On  the  decease 
of  the  sheriff-depute,  his  office,  by  statutory  arrangement, 
merges  in  that  of  the  sheriff  of  Edinburghshire.  Twice  a 
year,  at  stated  times,  meetings  of  the  Commissioners  of  Supply 
for  the  County  take  place  in  Peebles,  when  committees  are 
appointed  in  connection  with  the  system  of  police  and  other 

At  the  Reformation,  certain  vicarage  tithes  connected  with  the 
parish  lapsed,  with  other  ecclesiastical  property,  into  the  hands  of 
lay  impropriators.  The  patron  of  the  church  now  gives  a  person 
authority  to  draw  a  share  of  the  vicarage  tithes  for  his  own 
behoof,  amounting  to  between  £17  and  £18  a  year.  This  person 
is  called  the  '  Vicar  of  Peebles,'  and  is  ordinarily  the  precentor 
in  the  parish  church.  The  sum  he  levies  from  each  house  is 
exceedingly  small. 

As  in  Scottish  towns  generally,  the  ecclesiastical  institutions  of 
Peebles  have  been  multiplied  by  secession  and  other  causes, 
since  1690.  Besides  the  Established  Church,  there  is  a  Free 
Church,  and  also  two  churches  connected  with  the  United  Pres- 
byterian body.  In  the  town,  there  is  likewise  an  Episcopal 
chapel,  and  a  Roman  Catholic  chapel.  Peebles  is  the  seat  of  a 
Presbytery  of  the  Established  Church,  but  there  is  no  official 
place  of  meeting. 


The  burgh  sustains  two  public  schools,  one  at  which  instruc- 
tion is  given  in  classical  languages,  and  other  for  English  and 
elementary  instruction  ;  the  style  of  teaching  in  both  being  very 
different  from  that  which  prevailed  sixty  years  since.  The 
two  houses  are  plain  structures  fronting  the  green,  which  is 
used  as  a  playground.  The  burgh  gives  the  occupancy  of  a 
house  to  the  rector  of  the  Grammar-school,  for  the  purpose  of 
accommodating  boarders.  There  are  some  other  schools  in 
the  town  and  neighbourhood,  including  a  boarding-school 
for  young  gentlemen,  and  a  similar  establishment  for  young 

On  Tuesday,  every  week,  a  market  is  held  in  Peebles  for  the 
sale  of  grain.  After  having  gone  almost  into  disuse,  the  market 
was  successfully  revived  in  November  1855,  in  consequence  of  the 
means  for  carriage  presented  by  the  railway.  Oats  and  barley 
are  the  kinds  of  grain  principally  sold.  The  barley  of  Peebles- 
shire  is  considered  to  be  particularly  fine,  and  readily  meets  with 
purchasers.  At  these  markets,  there  are  usually  monthly  sales 
by  auction  of  cattle  and  sheep,  for  the  transport  of  which  the 
railway  has  also  offered  facilities. 

A  Horticultural  Society — now  established  some  years,  for 
promoting  improvements  in,  and  a  taste  for,  gardening  and 
flower-culture  throughout  the  county — has  met  with  much 
encouragement,  and  is  understood  to  have  had  exceedingly 
beneficial  effects.  It  conducts  a  prize  exhibition  twice  in 
the  year — these  very  interesting  popular  Flower-shows  being 
held  in  a  pavilion  canvas  tent,  erected  for  the  purpose  on  the 

Natives  of  Peebles  at  a  distance,  and  others  who  are  some  way 
connected  with  the  place  and  its  neighbourhood,  are  noted  for 
the  interest  they  take  in  all  that  concerns  the  old  burgh.  Several 
associations  are  therefore  formed  by  persons  so  interested  ;  the 
oldest  dating  from  1782,  being  the  Edinburgh  Social  Peeblcan 
Society,  and  another  being  the  Edinburgh  Native  Peeblean 

During   keen    frosts    in    winter,   when    the    air    is   clear   and 


bracing,  and  the  pools  frozen  over,  curling  takes  place  on  a 
pond  set  apart  for  the  purpose  near  the  bridge,  on  the  south  side 
of  the  river.  Men  of  all  ranks  indulge  in  this  exhilarating  winter 
sport,  with  all  the  keenness  usual  in  the  south  of  Scotland. 
There  is  a  Curling  Club,  to  which,  in  1823,  the  late  Sir  John  Hay 
presented  a  silver  medal.  This  is  played  for  every  year,  and 
worn  by  the  successful  competitor.  On  December  3,  1830,  Sir 
John  Hay  further  presented  a  massive  silver  buckle,  embellished 
with  characteristic  insignia,  and  a  leather  belt.  This  Belt  of 
Victory  is  contended  for  annually  by  the  married  men  and 
bachelors  on  the  curling-pond.  It  can  easily  be  imagined  that 
these,  independently  of  other  curling  matches,  in  no  small  degree 
enliven  the  community  of  Peebles  during  the  severities  of  winter 
— more  particularly  as  they  are,  for  the  most  part,  followed  by  a 
festive  dinner,  at  which  figures  in  profusion  the  indispensable 
'  curler's  fare.' 

In  summer,  the  wonted  place  of  resort  is  a  Bowling-green, 
situated  behind  the  church.  The  green  is  well  kept,  and  open  to 
all  on  paying  a  small  fee.  There  is  a  choice  collection  of  bowls  ; 
some  of  them  having  been  brought  hither,  and  left  for  public 
use,  by  gentlemen  in  the  town  and  neighbourhood  long  since 
deceased.  The  names  and  dates  are  inscribed  on  silver  plates 
on  the  sides  of  the  bowls.  Among  others,  we  notice  one  pair 
marked,  'John  Grieve,  1786  ;'  one  pair,  'John  Marshall,  surgeon, 
1786  ;'  and  one  pair,  *  Francis  Russell,  Esq.,  1786.'  There  are 
several  pairs  with  names  and  dates  wholly  or  partially  oblite- 

Occasionally,  the  Royal  Archers  of  Scotland  visit  Peebles  for 
a  day's  practice.  Pitching  their  butts  on  Tweed  Green,  or  on 
Ninian's  Haugh,  opposite,  they  compete  for  a  silver  arrow ;  or, 
more  correctly,  for  the  right  to  append  a  medal  to  the  arrow. 
So  little  appears  to  be  generally  known  respecting  the  Peebles 
Silver  A  rrow,  that  we  have  taken  some  interest  in  investigating 
its  appearance  and  history. 

The  arrow  is  a  stalk  of  silver,  with  a  flattened  and  barbed 
point,  and  is  about  fifteen  inches  in  length.  Attached  to  the 


stalk  by  small  silver  rings  and  chains,  from  the  point  downwards, 
but  in  no  very  regular  order  as  to  date,  are  twenty-three  silver 
medals  or  other  objects,  respectively  bearing  the  names  and 
coats-of-arms  of  the  winners.  Neither  the  burgh  records  nor  the 
archives  of  the  Royal  Archers  present  any  account  of  the  origin 
of  the  arrow  ;  but  it  carries  with  it  conclusive  evidence  of  its 
history.  By  a  legible  inscription  on  the  flattened  point,  it 
purports  to  have  been  '  Presented  by  James  Williamson,  provost 
of  Peebles,'  the  same  who  signed  the  National  Covenant  and 
Confession  of  Faith  in  1638.  What  length  of  time  Williamson 
had  been  provost  before  1638,  cannot  now  be  determined  with 
precision,  for  the  records  of  the  burgh  at  this  period  are  lost.  It 
may  be  averred,  however,  that  his  provostship  had  begun  pre- 
viously to  1628,  for  that  is  the  date  of  the  oldest  medal  appended 
to  the  arrow.  It  will  then  be  understood  that  the  Peebles 
Silver  Arrow  dates  at  least  from  the  year  1628,  in  the  reign  of 
Charles  I.,  but  may  be  a  few  years  older.  We  are  inclined  to 
think  that  it  is  not  quite  so  ancient  as  the  Musselburgh  Arrow, 
the  earliest  competition  for  which,  according  to  the  records  of 
the  Royal  Archers,  was  in  1603. 

A  remarkable  circumstance  is  connected  with  the  history  of 
the  Peebles  Arrow.  The  dates  of  the  twenty-three  medals 
extend  from  1628  to  1835  ;  but  there  occurs  a  blank  from  1664 
to  1786 — a  period  of  122  years,  during  which  not  a  single  medal 
is  appended.  Where  the  arrow  had  been  throughout  this  long 
interval,  is  not  known  to  the  Company  of  Royal  Archers  ;  for  it 
appears  to  have  been  originally  kept  at  Peebles,  and  has  only 
come  into  the  custody  of  the  Archers  in  comparatively  recent 
times.  Tradition  supplies  some  information  on  the  subject. 
According  to  the  account  of  an  aged  person  in  Peebles,  the  silver 
arrow  was  found  concealed  in  the  wall  of  the  building  latterly 
occupied  by  the  town-council,  when  some  remains  of  that  edifice 
(formerly  the  Chapel  of  the  Virgin)  were  removed  about  1780. 
The  conclusion  to  be  formed  is,  that  the  town-treasurer  had 
concealed  the  arrow  in  the  wall  of  the  council-chamber  at  the 
commencement  of  the  religious  troubles  in  Scotland,  1675,  and 


that  its  hiding-place  being  forgotten,  it  only  came  accidentally 
to  light  when  the  building  was  finally  removed,  more  than  a 
hundred  years  afterwards. 

The  Peebles  Silver  Arrow  is  now  preserved,  with  other 
muniments  of  the  Royal  Company,  at  Archers'  Hall,  Edin- 

Peebles  has  a  Kilwinning  Lodge  of  Freemasons,  the  constitu- 
tion of  which  dates  from  October  18,  1716.  The  body  after- 
wards formed  part  of  the  Grand  Lodge  of  Scotland,  when  that 
comprehensive  institution  was  constituted  in  1736  ;  and  in  which 
it  is  enrolled  No.  24.  The  building  occupied  by  the  Lodge  is  in 
the  Northgate,  and  is  partly  used  as  a  tavern.  Motto  carved 

1  The  following  is  a  list  of  earlier  medals  attached  to  the  arrow,  taking  them  in  the 
order  of  their  respective  dates,  (i.)  'M.  J.  D.,  1628.'  (2.)  'J.  S.,  1661 ;'  on  back, 
coat  of  arms.  (3. )  '  Alex.  Hay,  bower  [to]  his  majestic,  wan  this  arrow  the  monath 
of  May  1663  ;'  on  back,  coat  of  arms.  (4.)  '  Robert  Childers,  trumpeter  and  sadler  to 
the  king  and  the  gude  tune  of  Edinburgh.  Content  I  am  with  all  my  heart,  that  he 
have  for  his  desert,  that  gains  the  same  whatever  he  be,  by  his  skil  of  archerie. 
Robert  Childers,  trumpeter  to  his  majesty,  wan  the  silver  arrow  on  ye  3d  of  May  at 
Peebles  1664.'  (5.)  'Thos.  Elder,  5  June  1786;'  on  back,  a  crest  with  motto, 
Vlrtute  Duce.  (6.)  'Alex.  Wallace,  Peebles,  6  June  1787;'  on  back,  crest  with 
motto,  Sperandiim  Est.  (7.)  'James  Reid,  5  June  1788  ;'  on  back,  crest  with  motto, 
Fortitudine  et Labors,  with  'Peebles'  below.  (8.)  'Rev.  P.  Robertson,  Eddlestoun  ;' 
on  back,  crest  with  motto,  Virtutis  Gloria  Merces;  with  '  Peebles,  5  June  1789.'  (9.) 
'Peebles,  Alexander  Lord  Elibank,  u  Aug.  1790,' with  crest  and  baron's  coronet. 
(10.)  'Gained  by  Charles  Hope,  Esq.,  Advocate,  II  July  1791  ;'  on  back,  coat  of 
arms  with  motto,  At  Spes  non  Fracta.  (n.)  'Alexander  Lord  Elibank,  9  July  1792  ;' 
on  back,  'E.'  and  baron's  coronet  (12.)  'James  Reid,  Peebles,  8  July  1793  ;'  with 
crest  and  motto,  Fortittidine  et  Lahore.  (13.)  'Won  by  James  Hope,  Writer  to  the 
Signet,  31  July  1 802  ;'  on  the  back,  motto,  At  Spes  non  Fracta.  (14.)  'The  Peebles 
Arrow  won  by  John  Russell,  Clerk  to  the  Signet,  6  Aug.  1803;'  with  coat  of  arms  and 
motto,  Agitatione  Purgatur.  (15.)  '  Won  by  Dr  Thomas  Charles  Hope,  Professor  of 
Chemistry,  Edinburgh,  4  Aug.  1804 ;'  with  arms  and  motto,  At  Spes  non  Fracta. 
(i 6.)  'Alexander  Lord  Elibrmk,  2  Aug.  1806;'  with  crest  and  baron's  coronet,  and 
motto,  Virtute  Fideque.  (17.)  A  Silver  Anchor,  inscribed  with  '  Capt.  D.  Milne, 
R.N.,  iSio.'  (18.)  '  Gained  by  Thomas  Richardson,  Writer  to  the  Signet,  21  Aug. 
1813;'  with  crest  and  motto,  Virtute  Acquiritur  Honor.  (19.)  '  The  Peebles  Arrow 
won  by  John  Linning,  Accountant  of  Excise,  7  Sep.  1816  ;'  with  arms  and  motto, 
Virtute  et  Lahore.  (20.)  '  Gained  by  James  Brown,  Accountant  in  Edinburgh,  29  Aug. 
and  7  Sep.  1818  ;'  with  arms  and  motto,  Floreat  Majcstas.  (21.)  'Peebles  Arrow 
won  by  John  Maxton,  wine-merchant,  Leith,  27  Sep.  1828,  who  also  gained  this  year 
the  other  three  arrows  ;'  crest,  a  bee,  with  motto,  Providus  Esto.  (22.)  'The  Peebles 
Silver  Arrow  was  gained  on  26  July  1833,  by  Henry  Geo.  Watson,  Accountant, 
Treasurer  to  the  Royal  Company  ;'  crest  with  motto,  Impirato  Floruit.  (23.)  Same 
inscription  as  last,  with  date,  '8  August  1835.' 


over  the  door :  /;/  Deo  est  Omnia  Fides ;  date  of  the  building, 
1773.  In  the  hall  of  the  Lodge  is  a  picture  of  the  late  Sir  John 
Hay,  painted  by  Mr  John  Ballantyne,  Edinburgh,  1843  J  being 
ordered  by  the  Lodge  as  a  mark  of  respect  and  esteem  for  the 
memory  of  the  late  provincial  '  Grand-master. 

According  to  the  calendar,  Peebles  has  a  number  of  fairs  in 
the  course  of  the  year ;  but  except  for  special  purposes,  these 
ancient  gatherings  have  dwindled  into  comparative  insignificance. 
The  following  are  the  fairs  actually  in  operation  :  Fastens  E'en 
Fair,  on  the  first  Tuesday  of  March,  for  hiring  male  and  female 
farm-servants.1  Beltane  Fair,  second  Wednesday  in  May,  for 
hiring  farm-servants,  and  some  other  purposes.  Wool  Fair, 
Tuesday  after  the  i8th  of  July.  The  greater  part  of  the  wool  in 
the  county  is  usually  disposed  of  at  this  fair;  prices  being  generally 
regulated  by  St  Boswell's  Fair,  which  takes  place  on  the  i8th. 
Hiring  Market,  for  male  and  female  farm-servants,  on  the  second 
Tuesday  of  October.  Siller  Fair,  Tuesday  before  the  I2th  of 
December.  This  is  a  settling-day  among  farmers  and  others  for 
many  transactions  during  the  season.  Lime,  drainage  materials, 
and  other  articles  connected  with  farming,  are  paid  for  this  day, 
which  is  accordingly  the  busiest  day  with  the  banks  during  the 
whole  year,  and  everything  is  usually  most  satisfactorily 
arranged.  As  merely  festive  occasions,  the  fairs  of  Peebles  have 
greatly  declined  in  attractiveness  ;  nor  are  they  any  longer  the 
resort  of  tradesmen  for  the  sale  of  their  different  wares.  Fifty 
years  ago,  when  they  maintained  something  like  their  ancient 
character,  they  were  frequented  by  a  miscellaneous  class  of 
dealers,  who  set  up  booths  in  the  street.  It  is  interesting,  as  a 
matter  of  tradition,  to  recollect  that,  on  these  occasions,  the 
stranger  shoe-dealers  who  attended  were  not,  by  civic  ordinance, 
allowed  to  uncover  their  goods  till  a  bell,  called  the  '  Shoemakers' 
Bell,'  rung  at  one  o'clock  ;  such  being  the  means  adopted  to  give 
the  native  shoemakers  a  monopoly  until  that  hour.  In  the 

1  About  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  it  was  a  custom  in  Peebles  to  begin 
to  take  tea  by  daylight  on  Fasten's  E'en  fair-day,  and  to  commence  the  same  meal  by 
candle-light  on  Eddleston  fair-day  (Sept.  25). 


present  day,  with  enlarged  views,  this  and  other  antiquated 
usages  have  entirely  vanished  ;  and  strangers  of  every  class, 
besides  being  allowed  free  commercial  scope,  are  received  with 
every  token  of  hospitality. 

The  municipal  government  of  Peebles  has  been  described 
as  consisting  of  a  council  of  seventeen  members,  but  in  virtue  of 
a  recent  statute,  the  number  is  now  reduced  to  twelve,  including  a 
provost  and  two  bailies,  the  whole  elected  by  popular  franchise. 
The  proceedings  of  this  civic  corporation,  as  has  been  shewn, 
were  conducted  for  a  considerable  number  of  years  under  the 
seal  of  secrecy ;  but  even  after  the  oath  to  that  effect  was 
dispensed  with,  the  business  of  the  council  continued  to  be 
performed  in  that  unsatisfactory  manner  common  to  the  Scottish 
burghs  generally,  which  at  length,  as  arising  out  of  an  imperfect 
system  of  nomination,  led  to  the  well-known  measure  of  reform 
in  1833.  Unfortunately,  the  history  of  the  town-council  of 
Peebles,  previous  to  that  reconstruction,  cannot  but  suggest 
painful  reflections  to  any  one  interested  in  the  good  name  and 
welfare  of  the  ancient  community.  Endowed  with  possessions 
amply  sufficient  for  all  the  wants  of  the  municipality,  how  have 
these  grand  old  heritages  been  suffered  to  disappear,  leaving 
scarcely  traces  of  the  manner  of  their  loss  or  disposal !  Faint 
as  these  traces  are  in  the  imperfect  records  of  the  burgh,  we 
shall  attempt  to  bring  them  together,  and  make  out  a  con- 
nected, though  not  very  satisfactory,  narrative. 

By  the  gifts  of  several  Scottish  sovereigns,  beginning  with 
David  I.,  Peebles  was  invested  with  a  number  of  extensive 
commons,  which  lay  all  round  the  town,  some  near  at  hand,  and 
others  at  a  distance  of  several  miles.  Valuable  as  pasturages  for 
cattle,  and  also  for  supplying  turf  for  fuel,  these  commons  were 
assigned  to  the  magistrates  and  council  for  the  benefit  of  the 
whole  community,  and  properly  cared  for,  might  now,  under  a 
system  of  leasing  to  tenants,  have  yielded  a  large  annual  revenue. 
Long  before  James  IV.,  however,  had  given  his  charter  to  the 
town,  the  corporation  had  begun  to  divest  itself  of  this  species  of 
inheritance.  As  early  as  1472,  the  magistrates  and  council,  for 



some  unknown  reason,  resigned  Caidmuir,  in  favour  of  individual 
burgesses,  among  whom  that  common  was  partitioned  in  shares 
or  soums,  corresponding  in  amount  to  their  respective  tenements, 
to  which  the  privilege  of  '  souming  and  rouming '  was  in  future 
to  be  heritably  attached. 

In  1655,  the  burgh  acquired  additional  lands  at  Caidmuir, 
which  had  been  the  subject  of  dispute  with  Scott  of  Hundles- 
hope,  and  the  purchase-money  being  raised  among  the  burgesses, 
they  received  an  equivalent  accession  of  soums.  As  far  as  we 
can  learn,  the  whole  of  the  house-proprietors  in  Peebles  were 
now  heritors  of  Caidmuir,  to  the  extent  of  from  one  to  three 
soums  each  ;  while  the  burgh,  in  its  corporate  capacity,  had 
reserved  to  itself  nothing  but  the  trouble  and  expense  of 
managing  the  common  property.  In  a  memorial  on  the  subject, 
in  1762,  the  magistrates  and  council  state  'that  they  have  always 
been  managers  of  Caidmuir,  and  have  from  time  to  time  been  in 
use  to  nominate  and  appoint  five  persons — one  out  of  each 
quarter  of  the  town — to  inspect  and  visit  the  said  lands  at 
clipping,  souming,  and  rouming  time,  and  smearing  time,  that 
the  same  might  not  be  opprest  by  over  soums  or  otherwise ; ' 
besides  which,  '  the  town,  out  of  the  public  revenue,  have  always 
been  at  the  expense  of  maintaining  and  keeping  up  the  herds' 
houses,  and  the  minister's  stipend  ; '  and  the  only  '  consideration 
the  town  had  thereof  was  the  lamb  teind,  and  the  teind  of  corn- 
land,  when  in  tillage.' — B.  R. 

The  original  and  long-entertained  illusory  notion  was,  that  the 
soums  were  to  remain  inalienably  attached  to  the  tenements  of 
the  persons  to  whom  they  had  been  assigned  ;  whereas,  in  course 
of  time,  as  might  have  been  anticipated,  they  lapsed,  as  distinct 
properties,  either  into  the  hands  of  persons  who  possessed  no 
tenement  whatever,  or  of  heritors  who  monopolised  them  as  an 
investment.  Against  these  unexpected  transfers,  the  town 
could  take  no  effectual  steps,  and  at  last  not  only  sanctioned  the 
general  sale  of  soums,  but  became  the  purchaser  of  several  that 
came  into  the  market.  Previous  to  discovering  its  error,  in 
dismembering  Caidmuir,  and  presumedly  in  the  early  part  of 


the  seventeenth  century,  the  town-council  committed  a  similar 
mistake  in  resigning  the  common  of  Venlaw,  which  was  also 
divided  into  soums,  for  what  equivalent  is  unknown.  In  1765, 
a  roll  of  the  two  classes  of  soum-holders  is  inscribed  at  length  in 
the  town  books,1  from  which  it  appears  that  the  entire  number  of 
soums  was  270,  whereof  sixteen  pertained  to  Venlaw. — B.  R.  At 
this  time,  the  ancient  practice  of  'souming  and  rouming'  had 
been  abandoned  as  regards  both  these  commons,  which  were  let 
on  lease  to  tenant-farmers,  who  paid  annual  rents,  that  were 
divided  among  the  heritors  according  to  their  respective  propor- 
tions. Caidmuir  and  Venlaw  were  now  practically  the  property 
of  two  joint-stock  land  companies,  but  with  the  qualification  that 
the  management  and  feudal  superiority  remained  with  the  town. 

So  far,  the  conduct  of  the  magistrates  and  council  is  probably 
to  be  viewed  as  an  error  of  judgment.  On  what  follows,  a  less 
lenient  sentence  we  fear  will  be  pronounced. 

According  to  the  charters,  the  town  had  a  grant  of  Kingsmuir, 
a  tract  of  land  composing  the  slopes  east  from  Edderston,  which 
is  believed  to  have,  at  some  early  period,  included  the  whole 
or  part  of  Whitehaugh  Muir,  anciently  the  scene  of  the  yearly 
Beltane  festival.  Whatever  were  the  original  dimensions  of 
King's  Muir,  it  in  time  consisted  only  of  the  lands  adjoining 
Edderston  on  the  west,  and  Frank's  Croft  on  the  north — which 
croft  was,  in  all  likelihood,  at  one  time  a  portion  of  the  same 
common.  Thus  circumscribed,  King's  Muir  was  still  a  valuable 
inheritance.  Left  alone,  this  finely-situated  piece  of  ground — 
now  in  course  of  being  covered  with  villas — might  have  done 
credit  to  the  town  as  a  public  park,  or  yielded  a  considerable 
annual  rental  ;  but  such  was  not  to  be  its  destiny.  It  pleased 
the  council  to  find  a  reason  for  selling  the  larger  portion,  extend- 
ing to  about  thirty  acres,  at  a  price  which  one  is  almost  ashamed 
to  mention.  The  transaction  is  best  described  in  the  language 
of  the  records. 

1  This  roll  is  curious,  as  shewing  not  only  who  were  the  respectable  burgesses,  and 
the  quarter  of  the  town  in  which  they  lived,  in  1765,  but  the  names  of  the  original 
soum-holders  in  1462  and  1655.  It  is  a  kind  of  old  street-directory  of  Peebles. 


1737,  June  20. — The  council  taking  into  serious  consideration  that 
the  muir,  called  the  King's  Muir,  belonging  to  the  town,  near  the  burgh, 
is  of  little  use,  and  yields  small  benefit  to  the  inhabitants,  and  which,  if 
it  were  improved  into  arable  land,  would  tend  greatly  to  the  good  and 
advantage  of  the  inhabitants,  resolve  to  apply  to  the  Convention  of 
Royal  Burghs  for  an  act  to  set  off  the  muir  in  acres,  and  sell  and  dispone 
the  same  to  the  inhabitants  at  a  price,  and  paying  a  yearly  feu  for  the  use 
of  the  burgh. — B.  R. — 1739,  March  14.  The  council  appoint  Monday 
the  2d  of  April  next,  to  sell  the  King's  Muir  at  public  roup,  now 
measured  off  in  acres  ;  no  person  to  be  allowed  to  purchase  above  two 
acres  till  the  whole  inhabitants  refuse  the  same.  The  upset  price  to  be 
fifty  merks  per  acre,  and  each  offer  half  a  merk  at  least ;  each  acre  is  to 
be  chargeable  with  a  feu-duty  of  half  a  merk  yearly. — B.  R. 

The  greater  part  of  King's  Muir  was  accordingly  disposed  of 
in  small  lots ;  the  purchasers  being  members  of  the  town- 
council,  the  provost  included,  and  others.  The  price  obtained 
was  generally  from  fifty  to  sixty  merks  Scots  per  acre,  but  in  a 
few  instances  it  was  as  high  as  a  hundred  and  seventy  merks. 
Reckoning  that  the  average  price  was  sixty  merks  (or  £3,  6s.  &/. 
sterling)  per  acre,  the  gross  sum  received  would  be  about  .£100; 
but  if  the  town  fulfilled  its  obligation  to  surround  the  land  with 
fences,  it  may  be  doubted  if  so  much  as  ^50  would  be  realised. 
Of  the  small  annual  feu-duties  which  were  to  be  paid,  we  do  not 
see  any  account.  A  portion  of  the  Muir  was  reserved  for 
planting,  and  as  far  as  we  can  judge,  a  few  acres  did  not  readily 
find  purchasers. 

The  council  had  now  pursued  two  methods  of  impoverishment. 
There  was  a  third,  which  consisted  in  dividing  and  subdividing 
commons  with  such  proprietors  in  the  neighbourhood  as  confi- 
dently put  forward  claims  for  their  possession.  To  save  law 
expenses,  and  avert  the  risk  of  losing  the  whole  subjects  in 
dispute,  the  town  was  usually  glad  to  accept  such  a  share  of 
its  own  property  as  an  arbitrator  was  indulgently  disposed  to 
assign.  As  the  share  so  munificently  granted,  however,  was 
afterwards  liable  to  renewed  claims,  which,  for  the  sake  of  peace 
and  a  desire  to  conciliate  neighbours,  were  submitted  to  fresh 
arbitration,  the  morsels  of  land  finally  left  to  the  community 



were  in  some  cases  so  insignificant  as  to  elude  any  notice  in  the 
records  of  the  burgh.  Thus,  as  will  be  immediately  seen,  great 
commons  which  figure  in  the  charters  of  James  IV.  and  James 
VI.  vanish  from  the  roll  of  town  property,  and  are  no  more  heard 
of  except  as  portions  of  the  estates  of  the  gentry  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood. In  the  numerous  transactions  of  this  kind  noticed 
in  the  records,  it  is  often  difficult  to  say  whether  the  council 
should  be  blamed  or  pitied.  Assuming  that  the  royal  charters 
were  not  delusive  fictions,  but  credible  documents  in  which 
the  Scottish  kings  gave  up  the  commons  absolutely  to  the 
town,  we  can  only  regret  that,  either  from  want  of  proper  infeft- 
ments,  or  from  inattention,  rights  were  allowed  to  grow  up  and  be 
transferred  through  a  regular  progress  of  titles,  adverse  to  the 
interests  of  the  community.  It  is  true  the  burgh  officials,  with 
a  retinue  of  inhabitants,  '  rode  the  commons '  once  a  year,  in 
order  to  maintain  the  ancient  rights  of  the  town  ;  but  these 
holiday  excursions  were  occasionally  interrupted  by  collisions 
with  neighbouring  herdsmen,  or  by  angry  protests  ;  and  in  any 
case,  they  failed  to  define  whether  the  right  claimed  by  the 
town  was  a  mere  servitude,  such  as  the  privilege  of  digging  turf, 
or  of  feudal  superiority  and  occupancy,  and  were  consequently 
of  little  value. 

In  the  manner  now  stated,  the  proprietor  of  Cringletie,  in  the 
early  part  of  the  seventeenth  century,  seems  to  have  acquired  a 
valid  claim  over  Hamildean,  or,  as  it  is  sometimes  called,  Hamilton, 
Hill,  which  afterwards  was  the  subject  of  vexatious  litigation. 
A  petition  was  presented  to  the  Convention  of  Royal  Burghs, 
July  7,  1714,  in  which  the  burgh  of  Peebles  mournfully  com- 
plains '  of  the  decayed  condition  and  poverty  of  the  said  burgh, 
and  that  the  property  of  the  lands  belonging  thereto  was  invaded 
and  attackt  by  several  powerful  neighbours,  particularly  the 
Laird  of  Cringletie,  who  was  attempting  to  take  their  small 
property  from  them.'  Compassionating  this  state  of  distress,  the 
Convention  'appointed  the  commissioners  of  the  burghs  of 
Selkirk,  Dumbarton,  and  Annan  as  a  committee  to  meet  with 
the  Laird  of  Cringletie  and  others,  at  whose  instance  there  is 


process  depending  ;  and  endeavour  to  adjust  their  differences, 
and  bring  them  to  an  amicable  accommodation,  and  report.' — 
C.  R.  The  differences  were  not  adjusted.  Founding  on  certain 
rights  alleged  to  have  been  established  in  favour  of  a  predecessor 
who  was  Laird  of  Cringletie  in  1610,  the  Court  of  Session,  in 
1717,  decreed  that  Hamilton  Hill  belonged  to  the  Cringletie 
estate,  subject  only  to  a  servitude  to  the  town,  as  regards  turf- 
cutting  and  digging  for  stone  and  slate.  Yet,  as  this  decree 
was  not  hardly  pressed,  the  notion  that  Hamilton  Hill  was 
altogether  town  property  subsisted  in  Peebles  for  nearly  a 
century ;  and  as  such,  was  at  times  used  for  pasturage  in  the 
interests  of  the  burgesses  and  heritors  of  Caidmuir. 

The  next  subject  of  dispute  was  the  common  of  Glentress,  a 
name  vaguely  applied  to  a  series  of  connected  and  detached  hill- 
pasturages  stretching  from  near  Milkiston  to  Shielgreen,  and 
including  the  common  of  Winkston.  To  considerable  portions 
of  this  extensive  and  ill-defined  hill-tract,  claims  were  preferred, 
about  1765,  by  three  persons  possessing  adjacent  properties — 
James  Williamson  of  Cardrona,  Alexander  Stevenson  of  Smith- 
field,  and  Alexander  Murray  of  Cringletie  ;  and  in  the  dilemma 
to  which  the  town  was  put  by  this  triple  demand,  it  agreed  to  a 
submission  of  the  case  to  Mr  James  Montgomery,  Lord  Advo- 
cate. In  1770,  a  fourth  claimant  made  his  appearance  in  the 
person  of  John  Paterson  of  Windylaws,  who  modestly  sought  for 
only  '  two  or  three  acres  ;'  and  by  mutual  agreement,  his  claim 
was  submitted  to  Mr  Wightman  of  Mauldslee. — B.  R.  The  end 
of  these  arbitrations  was,  that  each  claimant  was  confirmed  in 
his  right  to  a  part  of  Glentress  ;  and  the  town  was  left,  though 
not  very  securely,  in  possession  of  some  portions,  including 
Pilmuir,  about  which  there  were  future  contests. 

Shorn  of  its  ancient  possessions  in  this  quarter,  the  town  was 
fated  to  relinquish  the  common  of  Eshiels,  which  adjoined  the 
farm  of  the  same  name  belonging  to  Dr  James  Hay  of  Haystoun. 
Both  as  an  improver  and  as  a  capitalist,  Dr  Hay  was  solicitous 
to  annex  the  common,  as  a  convenient  hill-pasturage  to  the  farm, 
and  opened  negotiations  with  the  council  for  its  purchase.  What 


was  its  worth,  according  to  the  present  value  of  this  species  of 
property,  we  will  not  venture  to  say.  Dr  Hay's  offer  was,  at  all 
events,  such  as  now  would  scarcely  be  entertained.  He  offered 
to  give  the  town  £10  yearly,  in  perpetuity,  for  the  common,  on 
receiving  a  feu-charter.  The  sum  was  thought  rather  small ;  but 
as  Dr  Hay  was  a  good  neighbour,  and  had  offered  to  give  the 
liberal  subscription  of  £2$  towards  the  new  parish  church,  his 
proposition  was  favourably  received,  and  agreed  to. — B.  R. 
Ultimately,  however  (Feb.  10,  1779),  the  bargain  was  altered  in 
form.  The  town  agreed  to  give  up  Eshiels  Common  unreservedly 
to  Dr  Hay,  who,  in  return,  was  to  give  a  portion  of  Soonhope 
equal  in  value  to  .£10  per  annum.  On  these  terms,  the  arrange- 
ment was  concluded,  Dr  Hay  at  the  same  time  agreeing  to  a 
division  of  Soonhope,  about  which  there  seems  to  have  been  a 
competing  claim  by  Sir  James  Naesmyth  of  Posso.  Such  divi- 
sion afterwards  took  place. — B.  R.,  Jan.  12,  1780.  Where  the 
town's  share  was  situated,  or  how  it  was  disposed  of,  does  not 
appear,  unless  it  was  a  piece  of  ground  afterwards  included  in 
the  property  of  Kerfield. 

That  the  members  of  council  may  have  been  chargeable  with 
irregularities,  in  relinquishing  tracts  of  land  one  after  another,  on 
a  succession  of  not  easily  understood  claims,  is  perhaps  to  be 
inferred  from  the  following  remarkable  protest  by  Mr  James 
Reid  (afterwards  provost),  March  24,  1786:  'Mr  Reid  having 
formerly  remonstrated  against,  so  he  must  once  more  crave  the 
attention  of  the  council  anent  the  disposal  of  the  public  commons, 
now  divided  and  decreed  to  the  town  ;  and  whereas  the  title- 
deeds  for  these  commons  and  Hamilton  Hill  were,  and  still  are, 
solely  in  name  and  behalf  of  the  community  ;  so,  it  appears  to 
him  most  unwarrantable  for  this  or  any  council  to  divide  and 
share  among  themselves,  and  other  heritors  on  Caidmuir,  the 
£$o  yearly  arising  from  said  lands,  when  not  a  single  claim 
was  made  by  us,  and  above  100  guineas  of  the  public  money 
expended  in  the  processes  of  division  since  1760.  Although  the 
propriety  of  this  conduct  is  not  defended  by  any,  yet  being 
continued  and  slurred  over,  the  fate  of  these  commons  may,  in 


some  short  time,  be  the  same  as  Caidmuir  itself,  illegally  obtained 
for  one-tenth  of  its  purchase.  Mr  Reid  again  publicly  repeats 
his  disapprobation,  and  insists  that  this  council  submit  the  affair 
to  some  able  and  disinterested  judge,  and  not  seemingly  pocket 
the  public  money,  while  they  pay  the  expenses  from  the  town's 
purse.  Mr  Reid  declares  that  he  has  hitherto  received  his  share 
of  said  £$o,  only  as  the  money  would  at  all  rates  be  divided  ; 
and  he  here  protests  that  neither  he  nor  his  shall  be  liable  for 
bygones,  when  some  succeeding  council  (who  aim  at  real  and 
useful  reform)  shall  with  propriety  reinstate  the  public  in  its  just 
claims,  and  institute  a  well-founded  action  against  every  indi- 
vidual member,  for  his  sharing  in,  and  allowing  such  abstraction 
of,  the  public  rents.' — B.  R.  The  council  took  no  notice  of  this 
protest,  of  which,  probably,  the  public  knew  nothing  ;  for,  at  this 
time,  the  affairs  of  the  town  were  conducted  under  the  strictest 
obligations  of  secrecy. 

We  may  now  revert  to  Venlaw,  which  had  been  resolved  into 
sixteen  soums,  the  property  of  certain  inhabitants.  These  soums 
having  been  bought  up  by  Mr  Ludovic  Grant,  in  1792,  he 
requested  to  be  invested  in  them  by  a  charter  from  the  town. 
But  this  the  council  refused  to  do,  on  the  not  unreasonable 
ground,  that  Mr  Grant  could  not  be  placed  in  a  better  position 
than  that  which  had  been  enjoyed  by  his  predecessors,  the  soum- 
holders  ;  whereupon  (Nov.  17)  he  sends  a  letter,  which  we  almost 
wonder  should  have  been  put  on  record.  After  accusing  the 
council  of  having,  in  previous  times,  made  away  surreptitiously 
with  the  property  of  the  burgh,  he  says  :  '  Look  at  your  own 
records ;  lay  your  hands  on  your  hearts,  and  say  where  is  the 
justice  in  refusing  to  infeft  me,  who  paid  a  full  and  adequate 
price,  when  you  and  your  predecessors  in  office  infeft  one 
another  in  properties  for  which  little  or  no  value  was  paid, 
and  defended  that  property  at  the  expense  of  the  corporation.' 
— B.  R.  Unmoved  by  these  stinging  invectives,  the  council 
declined  to  give  the  infeftment  in  the  terms  craved  ;  but  finally 
(Dec.  25)  agreed  to  give  a  qualified  charter,  on  Mr  Grant  resigning 
any  claim  he  had  on  Pilmuir.  According  to  this  arrangement, 


the  town  reserved  '  the  privilege  of  water  and  quarrying  stones,' 
also  'of  a  proper  space  for  drying  clothes  and  other  articles;'  and 
on  the  nth  of  April  1793,  the  town  opened  its  first  quarry  in  the 
hill. — B.  R.  The  burgh  still  retains  these  reserved  rights. 

Pilmuir,  which  the  town,  by  its  fortitude,  had  rescued  from  the 
grasp  of  Mr  Grant,  now  became  a  matter  of  dispute  with  '  Mr 
Williamson  of  Cardrona,  and  John  Notman,  his  tenant  in 
Hutcheonfield.' — B.  R.  As  Mr  Williamson  had  formerly  been 
assigned  part  of  Glentress  or  Winkston  Common,  the  town 
could  scarcely  have  anticipated  this  second  demand.  The 
council,  however,  considered  it  proper  to  agree  to  the  '  division 
of  Pilmuir  Common  betwixt  the  town  and  the  farm  of 
Hutcheonfield.' — B.  R.,  May  28,  1795.  The  division  having 
taken  place,  the  fragment  left  to  the  town  would  seem  to  have 
been  afterwards  (May  22,  1802)  excambed  with  Mr  Williamson 
for  land  adjoining  Shielgreen,  since  which,  *  Pilmuir  ceases  to 
be  the  subject  of  notice. 

Lulled  into  a  feeling  of  security  concerning  Hamilton  Hill,  the 
council  were  much  surprised  when,  one  day  in  1 802,  they  received 
a  proposal  from  Mr  James  Wolfe  Murray,  sheriff  of  the  county, 
to  buy  the  town's  servitude  over  that  common,  which,  in  other 
respects,  he  said,  he  already  possessed.  Thinking  there  must  be 
some  mistake,  they  politely  requested  to  know  on  what  Mr 
Murray  founded  the  assumption  of  being  proprietor  of  Hamilton 
Hill.  Prepared  for  this  inquiry,  Mr  Murray  (Nov.  24)  sent  them 
a  letter,  embracing  a  succinct  account  of  the  decree  of  1717.  in 
favour  of  his  predecessors  ;  upon  which,  the  council  firing  up, 
call  a  meeting  of  the  heritors  of  Caidmuir,  to  consider  matters ; 
and  the  unanimous  decision  is  to  abide  an  action  at  law  in 
support  of  the  town's  rights.  There  are  some  further  animated 
proceedings,  such  as  issuing  a  manifesto  by  tuck  of  drum  (April 
23,  1803),  directing  '  the  inhabitants  to  send  all  their  cattle  to 
Hamilton  Hill  to  pasture,'  and  to  make  a  regular  perambula- 
tion of  the  marches  with  the  attendant  burgesses. — B.  R. 

Mr  Murray  having  commenced  a  suit  declaratory  of  his  rights, 
in  the  Court  of  Session,  the  council  found  it  necessary  to  procure 

PEEBLES — BURGH.  3  [  i 

the  opinion  of  two  eminent  lawyers  concerning  their  case.  The 
persons  pitched  on  were  the  Hon.  Henry  Erskine  and  John 
Clerk,  who,  after  some  consideration,  gave  it  as  their  distinct 
opinion  (March  17,  1804),  that  Mr  Murray's  claim  was  indisput- 
able, in  consequence  of  being  founded  on  properly-obtained 
charters  of  resignation  and  novodamus,  along  with  regular  infeft- 
ments  ;  whereas  the  town  could  shew  nothing  but  its  royal 
charters,  on  which  no  infeftments  had  ever  been  taken. — B.  R. 
Supposing  this  opinion  to  have  been  correct,  and  that  it  could 
be  applied  to  the  commons  generally,  we  have  an  explanation,  in 
few  words,  of  the  mysterious  facility  with  which  the  town  was 
bereft  of  possessions  conferred  on  it  by  its  charters.  The  negli- 
gence which  could  authorise  such  an  opinion  from  legal  advisers 
does  not  need  to  be  specially  characterised.  Finding  that  their 
case  was  hopeless,  the  council  adjusted  differences  with  Mr 
Murray  ;  he  keeping  his  acquired  rights,  and  the  town  continuing 
to  enjoy  its  right  of  servitude  ;  which  resolving  itself  practically 
into  a  right  to  dig  turf  for  the  use  of  the  inhabitants,  is  now  of 
comparatively  little  use.  An  old  drove-road,  for  the  furtherance 
of  cattle  southwards,  still  subsists  across  the  hill. 

According  to  the  charter  of  James  VI.,  Peebles  was  endowed 
with  considerable  ecclesiastical  property,  of  which,  however,  it  is 
not  now  possible,  from  either  record  or  tradition,  to  present  any 
account.  The  town  was  also  invested  with  '  fishings,'  but  these, 
like  the  commons,  were  often  the  subject  of  dispute,  and  vanished 
in  a  manner  quite  as  unsatisfactory.  Becoming  matter  of  litiga- 
tion in  the  Court  of  Session,  Lord  Monboddo  decided,  November 
15,  1779,  that  Peebles  possessed  the  right  of  fishing  only  so  far 
as  its  own  lands  extended  ;  in  which  decision  the  town-council 
acquiesced,  and  the  '  fishing  case  was  ordered  to  be  stopped.' — 
B.  R.  By  dealings  subsequently  with  Dr  James  Hay,  the  town 
relinquished  its  right  of  fishing  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Tweed, 
'from  the  foot  of  Ninian's  Haugh  to  Whitehaugh  march,  for 
twelve  guineas,'  a  sum  which  forms  one  of  the  items  in  an  account 
rendered  to  the  doctor,  September  13,  1794.  From  this  account, 
it  appears  that  he  paid  for  fishings,  portions  of  land,  and 


feu-duties  bought  up  at  25  years'  purchase,  the  sum-total  of 
£48,  I2s.  2d. — B.  R.  As  regards  the  feu-duties,  reckoned  at 
half  a  merk,  or  6d.  and  8-twelfths  of  a  penny  sterling  per  acre,  Dr 
Hay  may  be  allowed  to  have  made  a  good  bargain,  for  the  same 
land  is  now  feued  by  his  descendant  at  £8  per  acre. 

Of  the  times  and  manner  of  disposal  of  minor  commons,  such 
as  Struther  on  Eddleston  Water,  now  engrossed  in  the  Venlaw 
estate,  it  is  unnecessary  to  offer  any  account.  It  is  enough  to 
say  that,  shortly  after  the  beginning  of  the  present  century, 
and  before  the  passing  of  an  act  of  parliament  to  restrain  royal 
burghs  from  selling  lands  except  by  public  auction,  Peebles 
stood  divested  of  nearly  all  those  lands,  which  under  more 
fortunate  arrangements  would  have  placed  its  corporation  on 
a  level,  as  regards  wealth,  with  any  resident  proprietor  in  the 
county.  It  still  retained  three  properties,  to  which,  in  its 
declining  fortunes,  it  tenaciously  clung — certain  soums,  of  Caid- 
muir  ;  the  Common  sometimes  called  '  Heathpool  Common ' — a 
relic  of  Glentress  ;  and  the  farm  of  Shielgreen.  But  these,  too, 
from  considerations  of  prudence,  it  was  forced  to  relinquish. 
Injudiciously  abstaining  from  a  small  assessment  to  sustain 
current  expenditure,  the  town  had,  for  a  century,  been  sinking 
into  debt,  and  nothing  is  more  pitiable  in  the  records,  than  the 
struggle  to  maintain  the  public  credit,  by  borrowing  small  sums 
from  any  one  who  was  willing  to  lend  them.  To  discharge  these 
accumulated  obligations,  the  annual  interest  on  which  was 
exceedingly  onerous,  it  became  not  a  matter  of  choice  but 
necessity,  to  sell  all  that  could  be  advantageously  disposed  of. 

In  1851,  the  whole  soums  of  Caidmuir  were  bought  up  by 
the  Earl  of  Wemyss,  and  that  nobleman  entered  into  possession 
of  the  property;  the  town  receiving  for  its  share  (seven  and  a 
half  soums)  the  sum  of  £396,  i  is.  yd.  Heathpool  Common,  which 
had  been  used  as  a  pendicle  of  Caidmuir,  was  acquired  by  Mr 
John  Fotheringham.1  And  in  the  same  year,  Shielgreen  was 

1  We  have  not  been  able  to  ascertain  the  entire  price  paid  for  Caidmuir  and  the 
pendicle  with  which  it  was  identified  ;  but  reckoning  that  it  referred  to  254  soums,  it 
would,  on  the  ratio  paid  to  the  town,  amount  to  .£13,430,  i6s.  $\d. 

PEEBLES — BURGH.  3 1 3 

disposed  of  to  Mr  John  Erskine  of  Venlaw  for  £7500.  By  these 
several  means,  the  town  not  only  paid  off  its  debts,  but  was  able 
to  carry  out  a  variety  of  improvements.  What  these  improve- 
ments were,  it  would  be  endless  to  particularise ;  suffice  it  to 
say,  that  the  town  has  expended,  in  rebuilding  one  school-house, 
and  altering  another,  £541 ;  contributed  £105  towards  the  renewal 
of  the  bridge  across  Eddleston  Water  ;  laid  out  ^454  on  the 
Corn  Exchange ;  spent  large  sums  on  new  drains  and  minor 
improvements  on  the  streets,  also  in  making  new  roads ;  and  has 
acquired  the  property  of  the  Water  Company,  in  order  to  place 
the  supply  of  water  on  a  public  footing,  and  increase  the  quan- 
tity required  by  the  community.  It  is  also  not  to  be  forgot,  that 
the  town  subscribed  £$oo  for  the  widening  of  Tweed  Bridge,  and 
contributed  £200  towards  the  improvements  on  the  High  Street. 
There  is  a  pleasure  in  mentioning  these,  out  of  many  other, 
evidences  of  the  anxiety  of  the  present  administrators  of  the 
town  affairs,  to  further  the  interests  of  the  burgh,  for  they  contrast 
in  a  remarkable  manner  with  the  strange  system  of  management 
under  the  old  regime.  Inheriting,  through  maladministration,  an 
exhausted  exchequer,  the  council  have  latterly  adopted  every 
available  means  to  make  the  most  of  the  shreds  of  property 
left  by  their  improvident  predecessors.  Sixteen  acres  of  King's 
Muir,  which  were  fortunately  reserved  in  1739,  and  ten  acres 
of  Frank's  Croft,  have,  in  the  change  of  times,  become  valuable 
for  feuing-grounds,  and  are  now  in  the  course  of  being  occupied 
by  villas,  for  which  the  feuars  are  to  pay  in  perpetuity  at  a 
rate  varying  from  £$  to  £8  per  acre  per  annum ;  so  that,  after 
all,  out  of  the  wreck  of  the  old  possessions  of  the  town,  some- 
thing advantageous  is  likely  to  be  produced.  Having  outgrown 
its  former  quiescent  condition,  the  town  has  had  laid  upon  it 
new  obligations  corresponding  to  its  new  privileges.  Not 
shrinking  from  these  obligations,  it  has  wisely  embraced  some  of 
the  provisions  of  the  recent  General  Police  and  Improvement 
Act,  and,  so  far,  gives  promise  of  keeping  pace  with  the  wants  of 
modern  society.  The  wonder  is,  that,  during  the  last  thirty  years, 
it  has  done  so  much  with  so  little  in  the  form  of  '  common  good.' 


According  to  the  last  statement  of  its  affairs,  the  town  had,  for  the 
year  ending  October  1863,  a  revenue  of  ^490,  of  which  the  sum  of 
^109,  iSs.  was  for  rent  of  lands,  and  ^129  for  feu-duties;  the  remainder 
being  for  customs,  dividends,  rents  of  houses,  &c.  The  ordinary 
expenditure  was  ^£482,  to  which  was  added  ^£259  for  exceptional  or 
extraordinary  disbursements.  At  the  same  time,  the  funds  in  hand, 
consisting  chiefly  of  the  price  of  land  received  from  the  Caledonian 
Railway  Company,  amounted  to  ;£i8oi,  from  which  sum  will  have  to  be 
deducted  the  outlay  in  completing  the  purchase  of  the  shares  of  the 
Water  Company,  and  extension  of  the  works,  for  which  arrangements 
are  at  present  being  made.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that,  by  means  of  a  small 
assessment  under  the  new  act,  it  will  not  be  necessary  to  make  any 
further  sales  of  property,  or  to  resort  on  particular  occasions  to  the 
degrading  expedient  of  general  subscriptions  throughout  the  county,  for 
what  only  concerns  the  burgh  and  its  inhabitants. 

It  appears  from  the  Valuation  Act,  1854,  that  the  valued  annual  rent 
of  property  within  the  burgh  was  ^5806,  i6s.  lod. ;  the  rental  of  the  parish 
beyond  the  burgh  being,  at  the  same  time,  ^9 198, 13^.  ^d. ;  total,  ^15,005, 
IO.T.  zd,;  on  which  a  poor-rate  is  levied,  which  (including  the  small  sum 
of  £10,  os.  <)d,  from  other  sources),  for  the  year  ending  June  1862, 
amounted  to  ^890,  igs.  gd.1  The  rate,  payable  equally  by  proprietor 
and  tenant,  has  been  latterly  diminishing,  in  consequence  of  the  salutary 
operation  of  a  poorhouse,  which  is  erected  on  a  commodious  scale  in  the 
Lidgate.  The  establishment  is  maintained  by  a  combination  of  all  the 
parishes  in  the  county  (Innerleithen  and  Traquair  excepted),  and  also 
the  parish  of  Penicuick. 

According  to  the  census  tables  of  1861,  the  population  of  the  parish 
of  Peebles  was  2850,  of  which  2045  belonged  to  the  burgh.  In  1863, 
the  number  of  voters,  by  ;£io  occupancy  or  proprietorship,  for  members 
of  the  town-council,  was  114.  The  burgh  is  merged  in  the  county,  on 
the  principle  of  the  county  franchise,  in  returning  a  member  of  parlia- 
ment ;  and  the  number  of  voters  residing  in  the  town  of  Peebles,  in 
1863,  was  74,  of  whom  only  one  appears  to  be  registered  as  tenant.  A 
number  of  non-resident  owners  are  on  the  roll. 

Although  situated  at  a  height  of  546  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  in 
upwards  of  55°  north  latitude,  the  climate  of  Peebles  is  not  inclement. 
In  point  of  salubrity,  the  town  is  much  indebted  to  its  sheltering  hills 

1  Mrs  Lenoir,  widow  of  the  late  Benoit  Joseph  Lenoir,  hotel-keeper,  at  her  death  in 
1849,  bequeathed  the  sum  of  .£500,  to  be  invested  in  the  name  of  the  parish  minister, 
second  magistrate,  and  schoolmaster  of  Peebles ;  the  proceeds  to  be  divided  equally 
every  year,  in  September,  among  'five  decayed  creditable  burgesses'  widows  of  the 
town  of  Peebles.'  The  money  (deducting  legacy-duty)  is  invested  in  British  Linen 
Company's  Bank  stock ;  and  the  interest  is  divided  yearly  in  terms  of  the  bequest 



and  the  nature  of  its  subsoil.  Built  on  very  open  gravel  and  sand,  it  has 
an  exceedingly  dry  foundation.  In  none  of  the  houses  is  anything  like 
damp  known  ;  all  the  rain  that  falls  runs  off  immediately,  or  vanishes  in 
the  ground.  There  are  no  dead  pools  or  marshes  in  its  vicinity ;  and 
the  rivers  on  both  sides  remove  from  the  town  all  liquid  matter  calcu- 
lated to  prove  offensive.  Unfortunately,  however,  this  species  of 
drainage  is  tending  to  pollute  the  hitherto  pure  and  wholesome  streams 
about  Peebles.  Eddleston  Water,  in  particular,  is  beginning  to  be 
offensive  during  droughts  in  summer,  and  may  seriously  deteriorate  the 
salubrity  of  the  town.  A  remedy  for  this  evil  cannot  be  too  soon 

Not  the  least  valuable  of  the  attractions  of  Peebles  are  the  numerous 
walks  by  river-side,  hill,  and  bosky  glen — open  to  all  to  roam  about  at 
pleasure.  Nor  will  strangers  who  go  to  reside  in  the  town  or  its 
neighbourhood,  and  whose  means  and  aims  are  moderate,  have  any 
reason  to  find  fault  with  the  manners  of  the  settled  inhabitants.  There 
is  much  social  intercourse  in  an  inexpensive  way.  The  intemperance  of 
the  'good  old  times'  is  greatly  assuaged;  and  one  hears  much  less 
frequently  of  '  Peebles  arms,'  as  three  tumblers  used  to  be  facetiously 
called,  than  was  the  case  fifty  years  ago. 


OCCUPYING  the  central  part  of  the  county,  this  parish 
extends  about  ten  miles  from  north  to  south,  and  five 
miles  from  east  to  west,  and  contains  a  superficies  of 
18,210  acres.  A  hilly  part  of  the  parish  in  the  south  is 
included  in  Selkirkshire.  Beginning  near  Cringletie,  the  parish 
comprises  the  lower  part  of  the  valley  of  Eddleston  Water,  then 
a  section  of  the  vale  of  Tweed  above  and  below  Peebles,  and 
lastly  the  stretch  of  level  fertile  land  projected  towards  the 
mountainous  tract  on  the  south ;  such  lower  portions  of  the 
parish  being  backed  by  elevated  pasture-lands,  which,  partly 
dotted  over  with  woods,  impart  shelter  and  amenity  to  Peebles. 

There  is  no  other  town,  nor  any  village,  in  the  parish.  The 
lands,  apart  from  those  in  and  about  the  burgh,  are  possessed 
by  twelve  proprietors,  of  whom  five  are  resident.  Excepting 
what  is  covered  by  woods,  or  laid  out  as  gardens  and  pleasure- 
grounds,  all  the  land  is  occupied  as  farms,  some  purely  pastoral, 
but,  for  the  most  part,  of  a  mixed  kind.  Formerly,  much  of 
the  land  about  Peebles  was  in  the  condition  of  crofts  of  two 
or  three  acres,  belonging  to  burgesses  who  gave  some  attention 
to  their  culture  for  the  sake  of  potatoes  for  their  families,  or 
fodder  for  their  cows.  There  was  something  pleasing  in  the 
half-urban  half-rural  employment  of  these  bonnet  lairds,  and 
perhaps  the  circumstance  of  possessing  such  patches  tended  to 


maintain  a  certain  sense  of  independence.  Such,  however,  is  a 
fanciful  view  of  the  subject.  The  possession  of  these  small 
properties  ordinarily  distracted  attention  from  professional  pur- 
suits, led  to  idle  habits,  and  mischievously  prevented  removal  to 
new  and  more  eligible  fields  of  industry.  But  whether  for  good 
or  ill,  it  does  not  seem  possible,  in  the  nature  of  things,  for 
families  to  keep  inheritances  of  this  nature.  Deaths,  and 
occasionally  urgent  necessities,  lead  to  their  disposal,  and  by  an 
inevitable  law,  they  become  aggregated  in  the  hands  of  the 
larger  landowners  in  the  neighbourhood.  The  crofts  about 
Peebles  have  thus  been  greatly  lessened  in  number,  and,  to  all 
appearance,  they  will  soon  be  altogether  extinguished — a  circum- 
stance only  in  one  sense  to  be  regretted ;  for  as  the  value  of 
land  for  building  purposes  is  rapidly  rising,  the  transfer  is  an 
unfortunate  relinquishment  of  advantages  which  might  have 
remained  among  the  inhabitants. 

The  most  important  estate  in  the  parish  is  that  of  Neidpath, 
belonging  to  the  Earl  of  Wemyss,  who  inherits  it  in  virtue  of  his 
descent  from  the  first  Duke  of  Queensberry.  The  property  con- 
sists chiefly  of  several  farms  lying  to  the  west  of  Peebles,  and 
clustering  around  Neidpath  Castle,  which  occupies  a  striking 
situation  on  the  north  bank  of  the  river,  at  the  distance  of  a  mile 
westward  from  the  town.  Backed  by  woody  hills,  with  an  open 
prospect  towards  the  east,  this  grim  old  edifice,  already  pictured 
in  our  pages,  forms  a  conspicuous  feature  in  the  landscape, 
reminding  us  of  the  graphic  lines  of  Pennecuik  : 

'  The  noble  Neidpath,  Peebles  overlooks, 
With  its  fair  bridge  and  Tweed's  meandering  crooks ; 
Upon  a  rock  it  proud  and  stately  stands, 
And  to  the  fields  about  gives  forth  commands.' 

The  view  on  approaching  it  from  the  road,  with  the  deep  dell  on 
the  left,  is  particularly  striking.  A  farm-gate  admits  to  the 
grounds,  which  are  now  an  open  sheep-walk.  Proceeding  along  a 
stretch  of  green-sward,  formerly  a  grand  avenue  lined  with  trees, 
we  have  above,  on  the  right,  the  chief  garden  of  the  castle ;  and  on 
the  left,  down  the  steep  bank,  are  traces  of  the  terrace-walks 


and  flower-gardens  which  once  adorned  this  princely  scene. 
Advancing,  we  come  to  the  old  arched  portal  in  the  wall  of  the 
courtyard.  Here  strangers  will  pause  to  notice,  on  the  keystone 
of  the  arch,  the  crest  of  the  Lords  Yester,  Earls  of  Tweeddale — 

a  goat's  head,  erased,  over  a  coronet ; 
and  depending  in  the  drop  beneath, 
a  bunch  of  strawberries,  symbolical 
of  the  name  Fraser.  The  strong 
iron  hooks  for  the  gate  remain.  Over 
the  gate,  there  was  once  a  small 
window  or  outlook  for  the  keeper. 
Fig-  4o.  Within  the  courtyard,  all  is  desola- 

tion. The  door  of  the  castle  being  ajar,  we  enter  the  hall ;  and 
here  the  extraordinary  thickness  of  the  walls,  II  feet,  attracts 
attention.  Mounting  a  broad  stair  to  the  floor  above,  visitors 
will  be  taken  in  charge  by  the  wife  of  the  keeper  who  now 
inhabits  the  castle.  They  will  be  shewn  over  the  apartments 
on  two  floors,  still  habitable,  and  then  conducted  up  a  narrow 
stair  to  the  summit  of  the  castle.  Here  a  superb  view  is 
presented  from  the  front  bartisan,  eastward.  The  view  behind 
is  also  picturesque,  but  more  limited  in  its  range.  Before 
quitting  the  edifice,  the  dungeons,  and  the  draw-well  hewn  out 
of  the  rock,  will  be  shewn. 

Neidpath  consists  properly  of  two  castles  united.  Originally, 
the  structure  had  consisted  of  a  tall  border  tower  or  peel,  each 
story  vaulted,  and  with  a  spiral  stair  communicating  with  the 
different  floors.  Subsequently,  there  was  attached  to  the  front 
of  this  meagre  stronghold  an  imposing  building  of  vast  strength. 
It  is  this  newer  part  which  now  constitutes  the  castle,  as  visited 
by  strangers.  The  south  side  of  the  ancient  tower  is  almost 
entirely  gone,  leaving  a  series  of  spectral  vaulted  floors,  one 
above  another,  open  to  the  winds  of  heaven.  The  fallen  wall 
lies  in  large  fragments  at  the  bottom  of  the  cliffs  near  the  river. 

The  history  of  Neidpath  carries  us  back  through  a  long  line  of  noble 
families  to  that  of  the  gallant  Sir  Simon  Fraser,  who,  in  1303,  along  with 
Sir  John  Cummin,  defeated  the  English  three  times  in  one  day,  on 


Roslin  Moor.  Sir  Simon  had  a  son,  who,  obtaining  lands  in  the  north, 
became  ancestor  of  the  Frasers,  Lords  Lovat,  and  other  families.  Sir 
Simon's  large  estates  in  the  southern  counties  of  Scotland  were  bequeathed 
to  two  daughters,  one  of  whom,  Mary  Fraser,  carrying  with  her  Neidpath 
and  adjacent  estates  in  Peeblesshire,  was  married  to  Sir  Gilbert  Hay, 
who  lived  about  1320.  One  of  his  descendants,  Sir  William  Hay,  who 
lived  about  1410,  married  Johanna  Gifford,  daughter  and  heiress  of 
Hugh,  Lord  Gifford  of  Yester,  and  became  Lord  Yester.  After  this 
event,  the  family  becomes  known  as  the  Hays  of  Yester.  They  seem, 
however,  to  have  made  Neidpath  their  principal  residence,  and  for 
several  centuries  they  were  hereditary  sheriffs  of  Peeblesshire. 

It  was  doubtless  by  one  of  the  Hays  of  Yester — probably  Sir  William, 
on  obtaining  the  dignity  of  a  baron,  in  the  early  part  of  the  fifteenth 
century — that  the  newer  part  of  the  castle  of  Neidpath  was  built.  For 
the  sake  of  security,  the  walls  were  made  enormously  thick  and  strong, 
and  it  would  seem  that  light  and  air  were  admitted  chiefly  by  small  shot 
or  peep-holes.  The  only  door  was  that  which  is  now  in  an  obscure 
corner  on  the  south,  near  the  brink  of  the  cliff.  From  this  door,  access 
to  the  upper  floors  was  gained  by  the  spiral  stair  pertaining  to  the  old 
peel.  As  will  be  immediately  seen,  the  builder  committed  a  grave 
military  blunder  in  allowing  the  old  castle  to  remain ;  for  its  walls  were 
not  half  the  thickness  or  strength  of  those  which  were  added,  and  they 
therefore  formed  a  vulnerable  point  in  the  edifice,  as  soon  as  artillery 
came  into  use.  In  the  preceding  historical  sketch,  allusion  has  been 
made  to  a  visit  of  James  VI.  to  Neidpath,  during  its  occupancy  by 
William,  Lord  Yester,  commonly  called  Wood-sword.  This  took  place, 
as  stated,  October  1587. 

John,  eighth  Lord  Yester,  was  raised  to  the  dignity  of  Earl  of  Tweed- 
dale,  1646,  and  died  in  1654.  In  his  latter  days,  when  enfeebled  by 
illness,  the  honour  of  the  family  was  sustained  by  his  son,  John,  Lord 
Yester,  who  had  married  Lady  Jean  Scott,  daughter  of  Walter,  first  Earl 
of  Buccleuch.  Lord  Yester  had  taken  part  in  the  military  affairs  of  his 
day,  and  commanded  a  troop  at  the  battle  of  Marston  Moor,  1644. 
When  Cromwell  invaded  Scotland  in  the  summer  of  1650,  and  soon 
after,  by  the  victory  at  Dunbar,  acquired  possession  of  Edinburgh,  Lord 
Yester,  who  was  a  Covenanting  loyalist,  fortified  Neidpath  Castle  against 
him.  As  formerly  stated,  the  defence  made  on  the  occasion  was 
unsuccessful,  in  consequence  of  the  attack  being  made  on  the  weaker 
portion  of  the  old  tower  from  the  south  side  of  the  river.  Battered  by 
shot  in  this  quarter,  it  was  forced  to  surrender,  and  till  the  present  day 
it  bears,  in  its  shattered  condition,  evidence  of  the  havoc  which  was 
committed  on  its  walls.  A  representation  is  given  of  this  southern  or 
ruined  side  in  the  accompanying  sketch  (see  the  following  page). 



In  1654,  Lord  Yester  succeeded  his  father,  and  became  second  Earl 
of  Tweeddale.  At  the  Restoration,  he  came  into  the  favour  of  Charles 
II.,  and  for  a  number  of  years  was  the  leading  statesman  of  his  day  in 
Scotland.  It  is  to  this  interval  of  prosperity  that  we  are  to  refer  the 
chief  improvements  on  Neidpath.  The  earl  is  known  to  have  spent 
large  sums  on  his  several  properties,  and  more  particularly  on  Neidpath. 
In  the  first  place,  a  doorway  was  broken  out  in  the  centre  of  the  building, 
through  a  depth  of  eleven  feet  of  wall.  A  handsome  staircase  was 
similarly  excavated  out  of  the  massive  structure.  Divers  spacious 
windows  were  substituted  for  the  narrow  air-holes.  The  walls  of  the 

Fig.  41. — Neidpath  Castle  ;  southern  aspect. 

apartments  were  wainscoted  ;  and  probably  there  were  likewise  at  this 
time  some  changes  made  on  the  bartisans.  A  large  courtyard  in  front 
was  environed  with  a  wall  and  some  buildings  supplemental  to  the 
domestic  accommodation  of  the  castle.  Stables  were  erected  on  the 
knoll  to  the  north ;  and  last  of  all  were  formed  those  elegant  terrace- 
gardens,  long  the  admiration  of  Peeblesshire. 

In  these  undertakings,  the  Earl  of  Tweeddale  may  have  been  assisted 
by  his  son,  John,  Lord  Yester,  born  1645,  to  whom  tradition  has 
ascribed  the  authorship  of  the  original  verses  to  the  tune  of  Tweedside; 
who,  in  1666,  married  Lady  Anne  Maitland,  only  child  and  heiress  of 
the  Duke  of  Lauderdale.  This  was  considered  the  greatest  match  in 
the  kingdom  ;  yet  it  does  not  seem  to  have  improved  the  fortunes  of  the 


Yester  family.  Subsequent  to  1675,  the  Earl  of  Tweeddale  became 
involved  in  political  disputes  and  expensive  litigations  with  Lauderdale ; 
so,  says  Father  Hay,  '  the  Duke  of  Lauderdale  may  be  justly  said  to 
have  rob'd  the  familie  of  any  benefit  it  had  by  his  daughter's  tocher.' ' 
According  to  the  same  authority,  the  earl  had  an  unfortunate  taste  for 
buying  lands  beyond  his  means  of  payment.  Debts  accumulated  upon 
him  '  to  so  immense  a  soume,  as  att  Whitsunday  1686,  he  was  necessated 
to  sell  his  whole  state  and  interest  in  Tweeddale  to  the  Duke  of  Queens- 
berry  for  about  280,000  pound '  [Scots] — a  sum  equal  to  ,£23,333,  &s-  %d- 
sterling.  With  this  fact,  we  take  leave  of  the  Tweeddale  family,  which 
now  closed  its  long  connection  with  Peeblesshire.  William  Douglas, 
first  Duke  of  Queensberry,  the  purchaser  of  the  property,  was  Lord  High 
Treasurer  of  Scotland  in  1682.  He  left  three  children — James,  who 
became  second  duke  in  1695,  and  is  noted  for  having  acted  as  Royal 
Commissioner  in  carrying  the  Act  of  Union,  1706  ;  a  second  son,  Lord 
William  Douglas ;  and  Lady  Anne  Douglas,  who  was  married  to  David, 
Lord  Elcho,  third  Earl  of  Wemyss.  Lady  Anne  Douglas  did  not  long 
survive  her  marriage.  Her  clothes  caught  fire  while  she  was  engaged 
in  devotional  exercises ;  and  so  severely  was  she  scorched  that  she  died, 
leaving  two  sons,  from  one  of  whom  is  descended  the  present  Earl  of 

In  1697,  Lord  William  Douglas  was  created  a  peer,  with  the  title  of 
Baron  Douglas  of  Neidpath,  Lyne,  and  Mannerhead,  Viscount  Peebles, 
and  Earl  of  March,  with  remainder  to  his  is^ue  male;  failing  which, 
eventually  to  Lady  Anne  Douglas  (Countess  of  Wemyss),  and  her  heirs 
male.  He  married  Lady  Jean  Hay,  daughter  of  the  Earl  of  Tweeddale  ; 
the  contract  of  marriage  is  dated  i2th  October  1693.  Neidpath  and 
other  properties  in  Peeblesshire,  afterwards  called  the  March  estates, 
appear  to  have  been  about  the  same  time  gifted  by  the  duke  to  his  son. 

William,  first  Earl  of  March,  followed  the  course  of  improvements  on 
Neidpath  begun  by  his  father-in-law.  According  to  Pennecuik,  the 
banks  were  now  planted  '  with  good  store  of  ornamental  trees  of  all 
sorts  ; '  and  it  was  chiefly  during  the  occupancy  of  the  first  and  second 
Earls  of  March — the  concluding  part  of  the  seventeenth  and  beginning 
of  the  eighteenth  century — that  Neidpath  was  in  its  glory.  We  believe 
that  to  this  period  should  be  referred  the  alteration  on  the  public  road. 
In  former  times,  the  road  westward  from  Peebles  turned  off  abruptly  to 
the  right,  up  the  hill  towards  Jedderfield,  and  descended  to  the  low 
ground  a  mile  or  two  further  on.  A  great  improvement  was  now 
effected,  by  cutting  a  level  road  along  the  face  of  the  steep  hill,  passing 

1  Gettfalogie  of  the  Hayes  of  Tweeddale,  by  Father  Richard  Augustin  Hay ;  printed 
from  MSS.  belonging  to  the  Faculty  of  Advocates.  Stevenson,  Edinburgh,  1835. 



the  head  of  the  avenue  to  the  castle.  The  point  where  the  old  road 
turned  off,  was  that  at  which  stood  the  original  entrance-gate  to  the 
Neidpath  grounds,  and  the  spot  is  still  popularly  known  as  the  White 

William,  first  Earl  of  March,  realised  the  idea  of  a  useful  country 
gentleman  resident  on  his  patrimonial  domain.  Among  his  useful  acts 
was  that  of  building  the  bridge  across  Manor,  1703,  with  funds  accruing 
from  the  vacant  stipend  of  the  parish  of  Manor.  He  died  in  Edinburgh, 
zd  September  1705,  and  was  buried  in  the  family  vault  on  the  north  side 
of  the  Cross  Church  of  Peebles. 

His  eldest  son,  William,  who  succeeded  as  second  Earl  of  March,  was 
born  1696,  and  married  Lady  Anne  Hamilton,  daughter  of  the  Earl  of 
Selkirk  and  Ruglen.  In  Peebles,  until  recent  times,  there  were  some 
pleasing  traditionary  remembrances  of  the  second  Earl  of  March. 
During  his  short  career,  he  resided,  like  his  father,  chiefly  at  Neidpath 
Castle  and  Queensberry  Lodging,  and  was  much  esteemed  for  his 
unaffected  manners.  From  an  anecdote  which  obtained  a  melancholy 
celebrity,  he  must  have  been  on  terms  of  familiarity  with  persons  in  the 
humbler  ranks  of  life  in  Peebles.  One  day,  in  riding  through  the  Old 
Town,  on  his  way  to  Edinburgh,  he  was  addressed  by  one  of  his  gossips, 
an  old  woman  who  happened  to  be  standing  at  her  door.  '  When  are 
you  coming  back,  my  lord  V  '  Gane  Friday,  Eppey,'  was  the  reply.  On 
Friday,  the  earl  was  brought  back  a  corpse.  He  died  suddenly  at 
Barnton,  on  the  7th  of  March  1731. 

The  second  Earl  of  March,  thus  cut  off  in  the  thirty-sixth  year  of  his 
age,  left  one  child,  a  son,  William,  who  became  third  Earl  of  March,  and 
subsequently,  in  right  of  his  mother,  Earl  of  Ruglen.  This  highly- 
favoured  youth,  who  was  destined  to  be  a  monopolist  of  property,  rank, 
and  title,  was  born  in  the  family  mansion  in  Peebles,  on  the  i6th  of 
December  1725.  Till  fifty  years  ago,  his  cradle  was  shewn  as  one  of 
the  curiosities  of  Neidpath  Castle  ;  and  there,  according  to  tradition,  he 
spent  some  of  his  earlier  years,  under  the  guardianship  of  his  uncle,  the 
Hon.  John  Douglas  of  Broughton. 

With  the  third  Earl  of  March,  began  and  terminated  the  ruination  of 
Neidpath.  Hitherto,  the  family  of  March  had  resided  principally  in  the 
country ;  migrating  from  Neidpath  Castle  in  summer  to  Peebles  in 
winter ;  and  from  various  memorials,  it  is  evident  that  the  first  two  earls 
were  munificent  in  all  matters  of  public  utility.  The  third  earl,  on  whom 
lay  heavier  responsibilities,  altered  all  this.  He  spent  his  life  almost 
entirely  in  England,  where  he  was  known  as  the  beau,  the  courtier,  the 
spendthrift,  the  patron  of  horse-racing,  and  every  variety  of  folly,  as  whim 
directed.  When  advanced  in  life,  the  earl  succeeded,  1778,  his  cousin, 
Charles,  third  Duke  of  Queensberry ;  and  thus,  as  fourth  duke,  united 



in  his  own  person  the  proprietorship  of  the  extensive  estates  of  two 
branches  of  the  Douglas  family.  How  this  dissolute  nobleman  affected 
to  be  the  patron  and  political  adviser  of  Peebles,  has  been  sufficiently 
dwelt  upon. 

His  Grace  was  never  married,  and  knowing  that  his  large  estates  must 
devolve  on  heirs  of  entail,  in  whom  he  had  no  interest,  and  against 
whom,  possibly,  he  entertained  some  kind  of  grudge,  he  committed 
much  havoc  with  the  property.  On  Neidpath,  he  inflicted  a  terrible 
blow.  In  1795,  he  sold  the  fine  old  timber  which  had  been  the  pride 
of  the  neighbourhood,  leaving  the  banks  a  shelterless  wilderness. 

Wordsworth's  well-known  '  Sonnet,  Composed  at  Castle,'  refers  to 

this  act  of  shameless  spoliation  : 

'  Degenerate  Douglas  !  oh,  the  unworthy  Lord  ! 
Whom  mere  despite  of  heart  could  so  far  please, 
And  love  of  havoc  (for  with  such  disease 
Fame  taxes  him),  that  he  could  send  forth  word 
To  level  with  the  dust  a  noble  horde, 
A  brotherhood  of  venerable  trees  ; 
Leaving  an  ancient  dome,  and  towers  like  these, 
Beggared  and  outraged  ! — Many  hearts  deplore 
The  fate  of  these  old  trees  ;  and  oft  with  pain 
The  traveller,  at  this  day,  will  stop  and  gaze 
On  wrongs,  which  Nature  scarcely  seems  to  heed  : 
For  sheltered  places,  bosoms,  rocks,  and  bays, 
And  the  pure  mountains,  and  the  gentle  Tweed, 
And  the  green  silent  pastures  yet  remain. ' 

Abandoned  by  the  duke,  the  castle  of  Neidpath  was  let  furnished  to 
yearly  tenants.  The  gardens  were  kept  in  order  till  about  the  period  of 
his  decease,  when  they  were  suffered 
to  merge  in  the  general  sheep-walk. 
The  plantations  which  now  cover  a 
part  of  the  banks  on  both  sides  of 
the  river,  are  of  recent  growth.  Not- 
withstanding the  extravagance  of 
Old  Q.,  as  he  was  called,  he  left 
at  his  death  personal  property  esti- 
mated at  about  a  million,  which  was 
devised  to  various  persons.  On  his 
decease,  the  Earldom  of  March, 
with  his  Peeblesshire  estates,  was 
inherited  by  the  Earl  of  Wemyss  ; 
while  the  Dukedom  of  Queensberry,  p-  2 

with  the  noble  estate  of  Drumlanrig, 
in  Dumfriesshire,  devolved  on  the  Duke  of  Buccleuch,  as  being  lineal 


descendant  and  heir  of  Lady  Jean  Douglas,  daughter  of  James,  second 
Duke  of  Queensberry,  and  wife  of  Francis,  second  Duke  of  Buccleuch. 
The  title  of  Earl  of  Ruglen  became  extinct.  By  the  Earl  of  Wemyss, 
Neidpath  Castle  is  confided  to  the  care  of  a  gamekeeper.  With 
recollections  of  its  past  history,  the  visitor  of  Neidpath  will  be  affected 
with  its  present  condition.  The  kitchen,  with  its  once  roaring  chimney, 
is  now  a  dog-kennel.  The  stables  and  other  exterior  offices  are  open 
ruins.  The  post  of  outlook  over  the  gateway  is  overgrown  with  grass. 
Here,  at  a  window  which  is  now  gone,  sat,  according  to  tradition,  versified 
by  Campbell,  the  dying  maid  of  Neidpath,  eagerly  watching  for  the 
approach  of  her  lover. 

'  Earl  March  looked  on  his  dying  child, 

And  smit  with  grief  to  view  her — 
"  The  youth,"  he  cried,  "  whom  I  exiled, 
Shall  be  restored  to  woo  her. " 

She 's  at  the  window  many  an  hour, 

His  coming  to  discover  ; 
And  he  looked  up  to  Ellen's  bower, 

And  she  looked  on  her  lover. 

But  ah  !  so  pale,  he  knew  her  not, 

Though  her  smile  was  on  him  dwelling. 
"  And  am  I  then  forgot — forgot !" 

It  broke  the  heart  of  Ellen.' 

Yet,  amidst  the  ruins  and  solitudes  of  Neidpath,  there  is  a  peculiar 
charm.  Nowhere  is  silence  so  impressive  as  amidst  the  deserted 
remains  of  decayed  magnificence.  Around,  lie  the  scattered  memorials 
of  ages  long  since  forgotten,  except  in  the  page  of  history.  The  few 
surviving  yew-trees,  which  remind  us  of  a  time  of  bows  and  arrows ;  the 
'  Lady's  Well,'  a  rill  trickling  by  the  wayside ;  the  old  terrace-gardens ; 
the  high  bartisans,  where  the  Earls  of  Tweeddale  and  March,  if  they 
followed  the  fashion  of  their  times,  used  to  pace  to  and  fro,  in  order  '  to 
weary  for  dinner ; '  the  moss-grown  walls  of  the  ancient  peel,  shattered 
by  Cromwell's  artillery — all  are  suggestive  of  past  times  and  manners, 
and  forcibly  remind  us  of  the  mutability  of  human  affairs. 

The  Neidpath  estate,  the  largest  in  the  county,  extends  into 
several  parishes  ;  the  church  patronage  of  five  of  which  is  in  the 
hands  of  the  Earl  of  Wemyss,  who  occupies  the  position  of 
Lord-lieutenant  of  Peeblesshire.  Purchased  in  1686,  as  has  been 
seen,  for  £23,333,  6s.  8d.  sterling,  the  estate  offers  a  remarkable 
instance  of  the  improved  value  of  property,  for  now,  including 
some  recent  acquisitions,  the  whole  lands  yield  an  annual  rental 


of  about  ;£  1 2,000.  The  estate  is  altogether  divided  into  farms, 
some  of  them  of  the  first  class  ;  let  to  tenants,  who,  owing  to  the 
non-residence  of  the  proprietor,  constitute  with  their  servants 
almost  the  only  population  over  a  considerable  district.  Within 
the  parish  of  Peebles,  the  estate  now  comprehends,  on  the  south 
bank  of  the  Tweed,  the  South  Parks  of  Neidpath,  Caidmuir,  and 
Edderston  ;  and  on  the  north  side,  Lyne's  Mill,  Edston,  Jedder- 
field,  Standalane,  part  of  Kirklands,  and  lands  of  Hay  Lodge. 
The  South  Parks  (ordinarily  called  the  Park)  consist  of  a  part  of 
the  hill  opposite  the  castle,  which  has  been  lately  perforated 
by  a  tunnel  for  the  branch  of  the  Caledonian  Railway  from 
Symington.  The  remainder  of  the  hill,  southwards,  includes 
Caidmuir,  purchased  from  the  soum-holders  of  Peebles  in  1851, 
also  Edderston,  one  of  the  old  Queensberry  properties.  Across 
the  hill,  at  a  kind  of  neck  called  the  Sware,  is  the  road  from 
Manor,  once  a  general  thoroughfare  from  the  west  country 
to  Peebles,  but  when  so  used,  it  proceeded  by  way  of  the  Park 
farm-steading ;  the  exit  by  the  present  loan  on  the  east  being 
of  modern  date. 

The  grounds  of  Hay  Lodge,  finely  situated  on  the  north 
bank  of  the  Tweed,  between  the  town  and  the  ancient  enclo- 
sures of  Neidpath,  are  a  recent  purchase,  and  so  likewise  are 
portions  of  the  Kirklands,  lying  immediately  to  the  north. 
Westwards,  on  the  higher  part  of  the  hill,  over  Neidpath, 
is  the  farm  of  Jedderfield,  now  in  an  improved  state,  adjoin- 
ing Hamildean  Hill  and  Standalane.  Jedderfield,  a  name 
corrupted  from  Jedworth-field,  appears  to  have  been  at  'one 
time  a  kind  of  appanage  of.  the  hereditary  sheriff  of  the 
county,  and  as  such  became  a  permanent  possession  of  the 
Earls  of  March.1 

As  a  frontage  of  Jedderfield,  Hamildean  Hill,  and  the  farm  of 

1  During  a  considerable  part  of  last  century,  Jedderfield  was  occupied  as  a  farm  at 
an  annual  rent  of  £ig,  by  David  Grieve,  who  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  agricultural 
improvements  of  his  time.  He  was  born  in  1713,  was  twice  married,  had  altogether 
fourteen  children,  and  died  at  Peebles  in  1 787.  Most  of  his  sons  attained  to  a  respect- 
able position.  The  youngest  was  the  late  Mr  Robert  Grieve  of  Noblehall,  best 
remembered  as  a  merchant  and  magistrate  of  Edinburgh. 


Standalane,  there  are  several  distinct  properties,  including  Firry 
Knowe,  Rosetta,  Chapel  Hill,  and  part  of  Kidston.  Rosetta  is 
the  name  which  was  given  to  lands  formerly  known  as  Acrefield, 
when  they  were  acquired,  in  the  early  part  of  the  present  century, 
by  Dr  Thomas  Young,  a  retired  military  surgeon,  who  had 
accompanied  the  expedition  to  Egypt,  under  Sir  Ralph  Aber- 
cromby,  in  1801.  By  him  the  house  was  built,  and  the  grounds 
were  laid  out  in  their  present  pleasing  style.  Adjoining  on  the 
north  is  Chapel  Hill,  to  which  the  access  was  formerly  by  an 

Fig.  43.— Chapel  Hill. 

avenue  of  trees,  now  nearly  all  gone.  On  the  knoll  occupied  by 
the  farm-steading,  once  stood  a  chapel  of  unknown  antiquity, 
which  was  removed  to  make  room  for  the  mansion  of  the 
proprietor.  In  1627,  Robert  Pringle  of  Chapel  Hill  appeared 
at  the  Weapon-show  at  Peebles.  From  the  Pringles,  the 
property  passed  to  the  Williamsons,  and  it  now  belongs  to 
J.  P.  Elliot,  of  London,  who  lets  the  whole  as  a  farm.  There 
is  a  tradition  that  when  Chapel  Hill  was  occupied  in  1745,  by 
Mr  Williamson  (whose  house,  a  plain  edifice  of  two  stories,  is  now 
the  dwelling  of  the  farmer),  he  was  waited  upon  by  an  officer 
and  party  of  the  rebel  army,  to  demand  the  cess  of  the  county 
in  name  of  King  James.  Both  for  situation  and  a  certain  old 
manorial  dash  about  Chapel  Hill,  of  which  we  give  a  sketch, 


one  can  fancy  that  it  will  some  day  resume  the  condition  from 
which  it  has  unhappily  declined. 

Kidston,  as  a  part  of  the  Cringletie  estate,  may  be  best 
noticed  in  connection  with  that  property  (see  EDDLESTON),  and 
we  may  cross  to  the  east  side  of  the  valley  of  Eddleston  Water, 
where  there  is  a  succession  of  properties,  all  of  some  historical 
note — Winkston,  Mailingsland,  Hutcheonfield,  and  Smithfield, 
backed  on  the  higher  grounds  by  Foulage,  Heathpool,  and 
Pilmuir,  once  comprehended  in  the  common  of  Glentress. 
Winkston  has  frequently  changed  owners  since  it  was  the 
property  of  the  Anglo-Norman  settler,  Wink,  or  Vink,  from 
whom  it  derived  its  name.  In  1489,  it  was  the  property  of  the 
Dikesons,  to  .which  family  belonged  Provost  Dikeson,  who  was 
assassinated  in  1572.  These  Dikesons,  or  Dyckisons  (now 
modernised  into  Dickson),  seem  to  have  been  an  old  and  pretty 
numerous  family  in  the  district,  for  they  turn  up  on  all  occasions 
in  the  burgh  and  other  records.  In  the  Weapon-show,  1627, 
appeared  '  Robert  Porteous  for  Winkston,'  having  seemingly 
been  sent  by  the  proprietor,  whom  we  judge  to  have  been  named 
Little  ;  for  '  Adam  Little '  is  inscribed  as  proprietor  in  the 
valuation  roll  of  1657.  In  1767,  it  was  possessed  by  Stevenson 
of  Smithfield,  who,  like  his  predecessors,  seems  to  have  done 
little  towards  its  improvement  ;  for  when  offered  by  public 
advertisement  to  be  let  in  1792,  the  lands  are  described  as 
'  mostly  in  a  state  of  nature,'  but  susceptible,  by  means  of 
drainage,  of  being  rendered  arable.  In  a  valuation  roll,  1802, 
Winkston  appears  as  the  property  of  John  Anstruther  of  Airdet, 
from  whom  it  passed  to  his  grandson,  the  late  Major  John 
Anstruther  Macgowan,  93d  Highlanders,  who  lucklessly  perished 
from  wounds  received  when  heading  a  party  at  Sebastopol.  By 
his  heirs,  Winkston  was  publicly  sold,  in  1857,  to  Robert 
Thorburn,  an  eminent  artist  in  London,  for  the  sum  of  ^"7800. 
For  about  a  century,  the  old  mansion  of  Winkston  has 
been  incorporated  with  the  farm-steading,  which  occupies  a 
prominent  situation  near  the  public  road  (valued  rental  in  1863, 
£347,  idr.). 


Hutcheonfield,  once  distinguishable  by  a  peel-house  on  a 
shoulder  of  the  hill,  of  which  now  only  the  lower  vault  remains, 
has  along  with  Foulage  and  Mailingsland,  and  other  lands 
in  this  quarter,  been  for  two  centuries  the  property  of  the 
Williamsons,  now  of  Cardrona  (see  TRAQUAIR).  Mailingsland, 
which  is  situated  over  Winkston,  is  called  in  old  writs  Meluins- 
land,  or  Melvinsland,1  a  name  perhaps  to  be  traced  to  one  or 
other  of  the  Malleuills  noticed  in  the  Ragman  Roll.  The 
residence  on  the  property  is  now  a  modern  farm-steading.  On  a 
lower  part  of  the  hill,  on  a  line  with  Winkston,  consisting  of  a 
strip  of  several  fields,  is  the  property  formerly  known  as 
Langside,  but  now  named  from  its  proprietors,  Swinton  Bank. 
It  received  its  present  improved  condition  from  the  late 
Alexander  Murray  Bartram,  writer  in  Peebles,  and  passing 
through  the  hands  of  several  proprietors,  was  purchased,  in 
1836,  by  the  late  Mr  Swinton  for  about  ;£8ooo.  The  house, 
situated  on  the  bank,  a  short  way  above  the  public  road, 
commands  a  pleasant  view  across  Eddleston  Water  to  Chapel 
Hill  and  Rosetta.  The  present  proprietor,  John-Edulphus 
Swinton,  an  officer  in  the  Indian  army,  is  the  representative  of 
the  ancient  and  distinguished  family  of  Swinton  of  Swinton,  in 
the  county  of  Berwick,  the  gallantry  of  one  of  whom  (1420)  is 
commemorated  in  the  Lay  of  the  Last  Minstrel— 

'  And  Swinton  placed  the  lance  in  rest, 
That  humbled  erst  the  sparkling  crest 
Of  Clarence's  Plantagenet. ' 

The  lands  of  Hutcheonfield  and  Swinton  Bank  form  the 
northern  boundary  of  Smithfield,  a  property  of  great  interest, 
now  known  as  Venlaw.  No  one  can  have  visited  Peebles  without 
being  struck  with  the  commanding  position  of  the  modern 
Venlaw  House,  on  the  face  of  the  hill  which  overlooks  the  Old 
Town  and  the  ruins  of  its  ancient  ecclesiastical  structures — a 
view  which  some  may  think  is  not  improved  by  the  bustle 
and  traffic  of  the  Peebles  Railway  immediately  beneath.  On  the 
spot  occupied  by  the  house,  stood  the  old  castle  of  Smithfield, 

1  Cardrona  Papers. 



and  as  some  token  of  this  antiquity,  there  still  exists  a  series 
of  terraces  visible  in  the  green-sward  on  the  face  of  the 
sloping  bank. 

How  Smithfield  received  its  name,  is  unknown.  Its  oldest 
recorded  proprietors  were  the  Dikesones,  connections  of  the 
Dikesones  of  Winkston.  The  last  of  this  surname  in  Smithfield 
was  John  Dickson,  who  lived  in  the  early  part  of  the  sixteenth 
century,  and  whose  daughter  and  heiress  carried  it  by  marriage 
into  the  family  of  Hay.  As  will  shortly  be  explained,  the  Hays 

Fig.  44. — Veulaw  House. 

of  the  Smithfield  branch  died  out  in  great  poverty  in  1683,  from 
about  which  time  the  property  went  through  several  hands. 
With  much  other  property  about  Peebles,  Smithfield  was  acquired 
by  the  March  family,  from  whom  it  passed  by  sale,  in  1729, 
to  David  Plenderleath  of  Blyth.  Plenderleath  was  not  long  in 
possession  ;  in  1739,  he  sold  the  lands  to  Alexander  Stevenson, 
late  tenant  of  Dreva,  then  residing  in  Peebles.  Stevenson's  son, 
Alexander,  bred  to  the  bar,  became  sheriff  of  Peeblesshire,  and 
succeeded  as  heir  in  1767.  It  was  while  in  the  possession  of 


Sheriff  Stevenson,  or  shortly  afterwards,  that  Smithfield  lost  its 
old  appellation,  and  from  the  adjoining  hill,  became  known  as 
Venlaw.  The  old  house  likewise  disappeared.  About  1782, 
Stevenson  built  in  its  place  the  present  mansion,  of  which  we 
present  a  sketch,  taken  from  the  front  (see  preceding  page). 
Mr  Stevenson's  two  sisters  inherited  the  property  in  1789,  and 
by  them  it  was  sold,  in  1790,  to  Ludovic  Grant,  writer  in  Edin- 
burgh.1 It  will  be  recollected  how  Grant,  in  purchasing  the 
soums  of  Venlaw,  assailed  the  town-council  for  an  infeftment, 
and  how,  with  more  than  their  accustomed  spirit  at  the  period, 
the  council  gave  him  no  more  than  the  qualified  charter  to 
which  he  was  alone  entitled.  Ludovic  conveyed  the  lands  to 
William  Grant  in  1793,  and  by  him  they  were  sold,  in  1798, 
to  Major  Archibald  Erskine,  from  whom  they  were  inherited 
by  his  son,  the  late  John  Erskine,  whose  heirs  are  now  in 

Throughout  these  changes,  the  estate  was  augmented  by 
sundry  purchases  ;  the  greatest  of  all  the  extensions  of  Smith- 
field,  however,  was  that  effected  by  the  late  Mr  Erskine,  when 
he  bought  Shielgreen  from  the  town  of  Peebles  for  ^7500.  In 
the  valuation  roll  of  1863,  the  rental  of  the  Smithfield  estate  is 
entered  at  j£S9l>  los.  By  an  arrangement  with  Sir  Adam  Hay, 
Mr  Erskine  resigned  a  portion  of  the  Venlaw  Hill  which  had 
been  acquired  by  Grant  from  the  soum-holders  of  Peebles, 
whereupon  it  was  planted  and  laid  out  for  villas  in  the  manner 
it  now  appears. 

Adjoining  Venlaw,  or  only  separated  from  it  by  a  few  fields, 
lies  Kcrfield,  which,  for  convenience,  we  will  take  next  in  order. 
Lying  under  the  shelter  of  the  wooded  height  called  Janet's  Brae, 
and  fronting  the  river  at  the  point  where  it  receives  Soonhope 
Burn,  Kerfield  is  one  of  the  prettiest  and  best  situated  small 

1  Venlaw  Papers. 

2  The  history  of  family  burying-places  would  be  curious  if  it  could  be  told.     The 
Erskines  of  Venlaw  use  a  burial   enclosure  at   the  Cross  Church,   called  '  Morton's 
Aisle.'     As  the  Laird  of  Smithfield,  about  1624,  acquired  lands  in  the  parish,  which, 
in  1567,  had  belonged  to  James  Douglas,  Earl  of  Morton,  it  seems  probable  that, 
through  that  means,  the  aisle  in  question  came  by  usage  into  the  present  family. 



properties  about  Peebles.  It  is  what  is  usually  described  as  '  a 
made  place  ;'  for  it  is  an  aggregation  of  a  number  of  detached 
pieces  of  land,  bought  at  different  times ;  the  whole,  at  con- 
siderable expense,  subsequently  improved  and  beautified.  The 
merit  of  this  transformation  is,  in  the  first  place,  due  to  a  family 
named  Kerr,  resident  for  many  years  in  Peebles.  The  first 
purchase  was  that  of  Bordlehaugh,  a  strip  of  land  lying  on  the 
side  of  Tweed,  which  was  bought  from  the  Earl  of  March 
by  William  Kerr  in  1730.  Kerr  is  designated  'merchant  in 

Fig.  45.—  Kerfield  House. 

Peebles ;'  from  which  we  understand  that  he  was  a  shopkeeper 
in  the  town,  and  subsequent  transactions  shew  that  he  was 
successful  in  business,  and  economical  in  his  habits.  In  1747, 
at  which  time  he  was  Dean  of  Guild,  he  acquired  other  two 
acres  of  land  at  Soonhope,  along  with  a  rood  called  Browne's 
Rood.  His  son,  William  Kerr,  improved  upon  these  beginnings, 
by  purchasing,  between  1766  and  1780,  the  piece  of  land  called 
Sandbed,  and  six  roods  of  land  eastward  of  Peebles,  with  two 
acres  of  burgage  property,  and  parts  of  what  was  termed  Little 


Ormiston.1  In  effecting  these  purchases  to  round  off  his  property 
on  Soonhope,  Mr  Kerr  may  have  entertained  the  scheme  which 
he  afterwards  executed,  of  transferring  to  the  spot  a  brewery 
and  distillery,  which  he  carried  on  in  premises  in  Peebles. 
There,  hampered  in  various  ways,  he  at  length  removed  to  his 
small  territorial  possession  outside  the  town,  which  he  designated 
Kerfield ;  and  here  extending  his  brewery,  was,  as  we  have  seen, 
vexed  with  litigations  about  multures  to  the  burgh  mill,  in 

But  William  Kerr  was  a  man  not  easily  daunted.  He  outlived 
this  sort  of  persecution,  and  brought  Kerfield  Brewery  into  high 
repute.  In  the  early  years  of  the  present  century,  the  concern 
had  attained  to  a  prosperous  condition  ;  the  manufacture  being 
possibly  benefited  by  the  copious  supply  of  fine  water  from 
Soonhope  Burn.  Afterwards,  when  the  business  came  into  the 
hands  of  Mr  Aitchison,  it  was  wholly  removed  to  Edinburgh. 
The  brewing  premises  were  then  mostly  taken  down  ;  and  the 
place  altered  into  what  we  now  see  it — a  gentleman's  seat  and 

At  the  death  of  Mr  Kerr,  the  property  was  acquired  by  his 
eldest  son,  John  Kerr,  writer  to  the  Signet,  from  whom  it  passed 
to  his  sisters  in  1839.  By  them  the  lands  of  Kerfield  and 
Whitestone  Knowe  were  disposed  of  the  same  year  to  Robert 
Gillespie,  of  Hundleshope,  a  merchant  in  London.  From  Mr 
Gillespie,  the  property  was,  in  1845,  acquired  by  William 
Mitchell  Kerr,  a  West  India  merchant,  by  whom,  in  1849,  ^ 
was  sold  to  Anthony  Nichol,  its  present  proprietor  and  occu- 
pant, for  (as  is  said)  about  £7000.  The  valued  annual  rental  of 
Kerfield  is  ^104.  Mr  Nichol  is  also  proprietor  of  Glenbreck 
and  Riggs,  in  Tweedsmuir  parish. 

Returning  to  Venlaw :  Here,  begins  the  estate  of  Haystoun, 
which  is  projected  eastwards  to  the  border  of  the  parish,  and 
includes  Soonhope  and  Eshiels  ;  after  which,  crossing  the  Tweed, 
it  extends  westwards,  so  as  to  embrace  King's  Meadows,  White- 
haugh,  Haystoun,  Newbie,  Glensax,  Bonnington,  Crookston,  part 

1  Kerfield  Papers. 


of  Caidmuir,  some  lands  about  King's  Muir,  and  Bridgelands 
at  the  southern  extremity  of  Tweed  Bridge,  also  Hundleshope, 
in  the  parish  of  Manor.  The  whole  lying  like  a  crescent  to 
the  east  and  south  of  Peebles,  and  disposed  as  pastoral  or 
arable  farms,  with  large  portions  covered  with  wood,  takes  rank 
as  one  of  the  principal  estates  in  the  county. 

The  family  of  the  Hays,  its  present  possessors,  is  of  considerable 
antiquity,  but  has  passed  through  some  remarkable  vicissitudes. 
It  traces  its  descent  from  John  Hay,  third  Lord  Yester;  and 
as  the  Lords  Yester  were  descended  from  Simon  Fraser  of 
Neidpath,  by  the  marriage  of  their  ancestor,  Sir  Gilbert  Hay, 
with  one  of  his  daughters,  the  Hays  of  Haystoun  are  the  living 
representatives  within  the  county  of  the  great  Scottish  patriot. 
John  Hay,  the  third  baron,  was  twice  married — an  exceedingly 
common  thing  in  Peeblesshire.  His  second  wife  was  daughter 
and  heiress  of  John  Dickson  of  Smithfield.  While  the  Yester 
family  was  carried  on  by  the  children  of  the  first  marriage,  the 
family  of  Smithfield  was  continued  by  the  second,  of  which 
the  eldest  son  was  John  Hay,  who  succeeded  to  his  mother's 
property  in  1525,  and  added  to  it  the  lands  of  Swynhope  or 
Soonhope  in  1549.  He  had  three  sons,  James,  Thomas,  and 
John.  James,  dying  without  issue,  was  succeeded  by  Thomas, 
who  died  previous  to  1570,  leaving  two  sons — John,  who 
succeeded  him,  and  Thomas,  whose  issue,  if  he  had  any,  became 
extinct.  John,  now  Laird  of  Smithfield,  added  to  his  possessions 
by  purchasing  Eshiels,  which  had  belonged  to  James  Douglas, 
Earl  of  Morton,  in  1567,  also  the  wild  valley  behind  it  called 
Glentress — such  having,  probably,  been  at  one  time  a  portion  of 
the  common  of  that  name.  This  acquisition  was  about  1624,  at 
which  time  the  Chapel  Yards  of  St  Leonards  seems  also  to  have 
come  into  the  family.  John  was  succeeded  by  his  only  surviving 
son,  James,  who,  by  patent  dated  July  20,  1635,  was  created  a 
baronet  of  Nova  Scotia  by  Charles  I.  After  this  event,  amidst 
civil  dissensions,  and  possibly  through  some  degree  of  improvi- 
dence, the  family  lost  the  whole  of  its  property  ;  and  Sir  James, 
the  third  baronet,  died  in  very  reduced  circumstances  in  1683. 


Smithfield  had  now  passed  from  the  Hays,  to  whom  it  never 
returned,  and  the  original  stock  was  alone  represented  by  the 
descendants  of  John,  the  third  son  of  Lord  Yester,  and  the 
heiress  of  Smithfield,  to  whom  we  revert. 

John  Hay  appears  to  have  purchased  some  crofts  of  the  Cross 
Kirk  and  also  King's  Meadows,  in  1570.  Dying  in  1602,  he 
was  succeeded  by  his  son  Andrew,  a  writer  to  the  Signet  in 
Edinburgh.  Father  Hay  records  the  jocular  tradition,  that  the 
Hays  of  Tweeddale  have  always  been  remarkable  for  making 
their  fortune  by  marriage.1  But  with  as  much  justice,  it  might 
be  said  that  they  have  been  indebted  to  professional  industry, 
and  a  right  application  of  means.  Andrew  Hay,  the  successful 
man  of  business,  helped  greatly  to  give  territorial  distinction  to 
the  family.  In  1635,  he  purchased  the  lands  of  Henderstoun, 
which  he  designated  Haystoun ;  in  the  same  year,  he  acquired 
the  adjoining  property  of  Glensax  from  Govan  of  Cardrona  ;  and 
Newbie  appears  to  have  been  bought  about  the  same  time. 
These  various  lands,  with  King's  Meadows,  constituted  the 
nucleus  of  the  present  estate.  Andrew  died  in  1655,  and 
was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son,  John  Hay  of  Haystoun, 
advocate  and  principal  clerk  of  Session,  by  whom  and  his 
son  and  successor  John,  the  family  property  was  extended. 
Yet,  reckoned  according  to  our  money  value,  how  small  was 

1  '  It  is  to  be  observed  that  the  whole  fortune  of  this  familie  came  by  marriages,  and 
whatever  hath  been  purchas'd,  was  by  the  selling  of  land  that  had  come  in  that 
way ;  in  consideration  whereof,  Charles  Hay,  present  Lord  Yester  [third  Marquis  of 
Tweeddale,  1713],  made  the  following  verses  : 

"  Aulam  alii  jactent,  felix  Domus  Yestria,  nube, 
Nam  quze  sors  aliis,  dat  Venus  alma  tibi."  ' 

[  Translation  :  Let  others  boast  of  court  influence  ;  thou,  happy  House  of  Yester,  hast 
only  to  marry  ;  for  the  good  things  that  Fortune  bestows  on  others,  benign  Venus 
gives  to  thee.] — Genealogie  of  the  Hayes  of  Tweeddale,  p.  39. 

Father  Hay  does  not  seem  to  have  been  aware  that  Lord  Yester's  verses  are  but  an 
adaptation  of  the  following  well-known  epigram  on  the  fortunes  of  the  House  of 
Austria,  ascribed  to  Matthias  Corvinus  (who  died  1490)  : 

'  Bella  gerant  alii ;  tu,  felix  Austria,  nube  ; 
Nam  quae  Mars  aliis,  dat  tibi  regna  Venus. ' 

Translation :  Let  others  wage  war  ;  thou,  happy  Austria,  hast  only  to  marry ;  for 
the  kingdoms  that  Mars  bestows  on  others,  Venus  gives  to  thec. 



still  the  rent-roll  of  the   Hays !      In    the   county  valuation  of 

1657,  the  'free  rent  of  the  Laird   of  Haystoun'  is  put  down 

at  ,£486,  5^.  lod.  Scots — something  under  £37  sterling.     It  was 

not,  therefore,  by  means  of  rental,  but  by  professional   gains 

that  the  Hays   expanded    from   the   condition   of  small   lairds 

to   that  of  considerable   land-proprietors.       It   was,   seemingly, 

either  the  advocate  or  his  son  who  built  the  family  mansion  at 

Haystoun,  which,  situated  amidst  some  fine  old  trees  on  a  knoll 

overhanging  Haystoun    Burn,  and    forming,  with  offices,  three 

sides  of  a  square,  presents  a  good  example  of  a  superior  Scottish 

country-seat  two  hundred  years  ago.     Over  the  chief  entrance 

is  a  stone  tablet  bearing  the  arms  of  the  family,  with  the  date 

1660,  and  some  initials,  as  shewn  in  the  adjoining  cut  (fig.  46). 

The  house  is  distant  about  a  mile 

and   a   half   south   from    Peebles. 

About    the    period    at    which    it 

was  erected,  the  Haystoun  family 

acquired  by  purchase — possibly  by 

paying  off  wadsets  or  mortgages 

— some  of  the  possessions  of  the 

unfortunate      Smithfield      branch, 

among   which    were    Eshiels    and 

Chapel  Yards,  also  several  lesser 

properties  near  Peebles.     Another 

important  acquisition  was  White- 

haugh,    which,    by    a    disposition    from    the    Traquair    family, 

became  the  property  of  John  Hay  in  1679.' 

John,  the  son  of  the  advocate,  was  succeeded  by  his  son 
John,  who  married  Janet,  daughter  of  Sir  Alexander  Murray  of 
Blackbarony,  and  had  a  family  of  four  sons  and  seven  daughters. 
Of  these  daughters,  Jean,  Anne,  Grizel,  and  Helen  were  married  ; 
Helen  was  the  grandmother  of  the  present  Mrs  Horsbrugh  of 
Horsbrugh.  Of  the  sons,  John  and  James,  the  two  elder,  need 
only  be  referred  to.  John  died  before  his  father,  without  issue, 
and  the  succession  devolved  on  James,  who  was  a  physician 

1  Haystoun  Papers,  on  which  our  statements  are  generally  founded. 


in  Edinburgh.  By  the  death  of  his  father,  he  entered  on 
possession  of  the  Haystoun  estate  in  1762.  His  wife,  a  daughter 
of  Campbell  of  Greenyards,  died  in  1770,  and  ever  afterwards 
he  remained  a  widower. 

Peeblesshire  has  produced  few  better  managers  of  property 
than  Dr  Hay.  Active,  intelligent,  and  far-sighted,  he  made  good 
purchases,  and  throwing  himself  into  the  movement  for  enclosing 
and  improving  lands,  did  much  to  extend  and  consolidate  the 
interests  of  his  family.  In  a  list  of  his  properties,  1775,  we  see 
Waddinshope  or  Walthamshope,  the  subject  of  dispute  between 
Robert  Cruik  and  the  burgesses  of  Peebles  in  1262.  Waddins- 
hope, Glensax,  and  Newbie,  all  lie  to  the  south  of  Haystoun, 
whence  they  stretch  away  among  the  hills,  constituting  wild 
pastoral  solitudes.  Two  of  the  hills,  hereabouts,  particularly 
prominent  in  the  view  southwards  from  Peebles,  culminate 
in  peaks,  known  as  Newbie  Kips.  Another  feature  in  the 
landscape  is  an  ancient  drove-road,  winding  like  a  green  ribbon 
among  the  woods,  and  leading  southwards  to  Yarrow  and  the 
English  border.  The  whole  scenery  of  Haystoun  Burn,  from 
where  it  leaves  the  glen  at  Newbie  till  it  falls  into  the  Tweed,  is 
charmingly  rural  and  picturesque.  One  of  the  prettiest  spots  is 
near  the  old  farmhouse  of  Newbie,  which  stands  on  the  west 
side  of  the  Glen  (now  partly  occupied  by  an  artificial  lake),  and 
offers  a  fair  specimen  of  the  second  stage  of  improvement  reached 
by  houses  of  its  class.  In  front  of  it,  on  a  cleared  space,  stood 
the  original  farmhouse,  a  thatched  cottage  of  two  apartments, 
which,  with  some  surrounding  natural  features,  has  invited  the 
notice  of  a  native  versifier : 

'  In  Newby  Dell,  the  sweet  blue-bell, 
And  wild-thyme,  scent  revealing, 
Now  mark  the  spot,  a  humble  cot, 
Thy  grandsire's  mined  shieling. ' 1 

Newbie,  now   included  in  the   farm    of  Bonnington,   affords 

1  An  allusion  is  here  made  to  William  Gibson,  who,  as  tenant-farmer,  quitted 
Newbie  (with  a  small  fortune)  about  1780.  While  occupied  as  a  store-farm  by  Mr 
Gibson,  a  number  of  sheep  were  stolen  from  Newbie  by  a  person  named  Murdcrson, 


an  instance  of  the  timidity  of  the  old  farmers  in  this  part 
of  the  country.  In  1790,  on  the  occasion  of  a  proposed 
rise  of  rent,  it  was  advertised  as  consisting  of  3200  Scots 
acres,  which  had  hitherto  been  possessed  at  below  is.  6d. 
per  acre.  The  war-prices  which  ensued  shortly  afterwards, 
left  no  room  for  regret  to  those  who  ventured  on  exceeding 
this  rental. 

Dr  Hay  is  entitled  to  be  called  the  maker  of  Whitehaugh  and 
King's  Meadows  in  their  present  aspect  of  well-fenced,  planted, 
and,  in  other  respects,  improved  lands ;  for,  previous  to  his  time, 
they  were  little  else  than  an  open  moor.  Throughout  his  rural 
operations,  he  continued  to  reside  in  New  Street,  Canongate, 
where  his  house  was  kept,  and  family  superintended,  by  Miss 
Peggy,  one  of  his  three  unmarried  sisters.  Here,  pursuing  his 
professional  labours,  the  doctor  only  now  and  then  visited  the 
country  to  attend  to  improvements  on  his  estate,  or  to  negotiate 
some  bargain  about  patches  of  land  with  the  town-council 
of  Peebles,  for  which  his  command  of  ready  money  gave  him 
peculiar  advantages.  It  is  likely  enough,  that  at  these  times 
he  occasionally  took  up  his  residence  at  Hay  Lodge,  which  had 
been  built  about  1772,  by  his  second  son,  Captain  (afterwards 
Lieutenant-colonel)  Adam  Hay,  or  at  King's  Meadows,  where 
his  elder  son,  John  Hay,  a  banker  in  Edinburgh,  erected  a 
dwelling  in  1795,  at  the  modest  cost  of  £600.  We  can  conceive, 
however,  that  the  doctor's  principal  country  quarters  continued 
to  be  the  old  family  mansion  at  Haystoun,  which  was  occupied 
with  some  degree  of  style  by  his  remaining  maiden  sisters,  Miss 
Betty  and  Miss  Ailie,  paragons  of  neatness  and  great  spinners  of 
flax,  each  being  provided  with  her  own  small  wheel  for  the 
purpose — on  which  important  subject  of  manufacture  'the 

tenant  in  Wormiston  (now  Glenormiston),  who,  along  with  Millar  his  shepherd,  and  a 
dog  called  Yarrow,  carried  on  a  most  extraordinary  system  of  depredation — Yarrow,  as 
a  humble  agent,  being  most  adroit  in  stealthily  cutting  off  and  bringing  home  such 
parcels  of  sheep,  under  night,  as  were  indicated  by  a  few  words  from  his  master.  For 
this  crime,  Murderson  and  Millar  were  tried  and  convicted  at  Edinburgh,  January 
1773,  and  afterwards  executed.  The  performances  of  Yarrow  are  quoted  by  writers 
in  Natural  History,  as  among  the  more  remarkable  instances  of  intelligence  in  dogs. 



leddies  of  Haystoun '  used  occasionally  to  visit,  and  hold  grave 
consultations  with  Mrs  Gibson,  the  farmer's  wife,  in  that  old 
thatched  '  but-and-ben '  edifice  at  Newbie.  Besides  his  two 
sons,  John  and  Adam,  the  doctor  had  a  number  of  daughters, 
the  eldest  of  whom,  Elizabeth,  was  married  to  Sir  William 
Forbes  of  Pitsligo,  baronet. 

It  can  scarcely  be  doubted  that,  throughout  his  course  of 
improvements  and  extensions  of  property,  Dr  Hay  entertained 
a  wish  to  revive  the  Smithfield  baronetcy,  which  had  been  in 
abeyance  since  1683.  He  began  moving  in  the  matter  about 
1804;  and  as  the  establishment  of  claims  of  this  kind  was  then  not 
so  strict  or  formal  as  it  is  in  our  own  day,  he  appears  to  have  had 
little  difficulty  in  satisfying  a  jury  called  together  for  the  purpose 
at  Peebles,  November  9,  1805,  that  as  a  lineal  descendant  of 
John  Hay  of  King's  Meadows,  third  son  of  Lord  Yester,  and 
brother  of  the  first  baronet's  grandfather,  he  was  entitled  to  be 
the  fourth  baronet.  Getting  this  matter  satisfactorily  settled, 
Sir  James,  as  he  was  now  called,  did  not  long  survive  his  new 
honour.  He  died  in  1810,  leaving  a  large  family,  and  was 
succeeded  by  his  eldest  son,  Sir  John,  who  having  been  born 
in  1755,  was  past  middle  age  when  he  entered  into  possession  of 
the  property.  His  second  son,  Adam,  predeceased  him,  having 
died  abroad,  without  issue,  in  1795. 

Many  will  remember  Sir  John  Hay,  as  being  a  fine  specimen 
of  the  well-bred  country  gentleman,  blended  with  the  man  of 
business.  In  1774,  he  had  been  apprenticed  in  the  banking-house 
of  his  brother-in-law,  Sir  William  Forbes,  at  Edinburgh ;  in 
which  concern,  he  was  assumed  as  a  partner  in  1782.  Diligent 
in  this  pursuit,  he  made  frequent  visits  to  Peeblesshire,  more 
particularly  in  his  later  years.  In  1785,  he  married  the  Honour- 
able Mary  Elizabeth,  youngest  daughter  of  James,  sixteenth 
Lord  Forbes,  by  whom  he  had  eight  sons  and  seven  daughters. 
The  family  resided  at  King's  Meadows,  in  the  .£600  house,  but 
that  at  length  getting  too  small  and  out  of  date,  Sir  John  built 
an  addition  in  front  in  1811 ;  the  old  mansion  at  Haystoun  being 
meanwhile  vacated  by  the  venerable  spinster  aunts,  who  migrated 


to  a  flat  in  Chapel  Street,1  Edinburgh,  where  they  peacefully 
concluded  their  days,  enjoying  till  the  last  the  pleasure  of  seeing 
the  Fly  jog  deliberately  along  Nicolson  Street,  three  times  a 
week,  to  and  from  Peebles.  After  this  desertion,  Haystoun 
subsides  into  a  residence  of  the  factor  on  the  estate. 

Affected  with  the  extravagant  notions  on  planting  which 
prevailed  in  the  early  part  of  the  present  century,  Sir  John  made 
that  a  favourite  pursuit,  covering  large  hill-tracts  with  wood, 
which,  until  lately,  could  find  no  market  in  a  district  unprovided 
with  a  cheap  means  of  transit.  He  added  greatly  to  the  beauty 
and  amenity  of  his  farms.  Eshiels,  in  particular,  was  laid  out 
with  exquisite  taste,  and  may  be  pronounced  the  finest  picture  of 
a  farm  with  farm-steading  in  the  county.  Within  this  farm  is 
now  comprehended  the  property  of  Chapel  Yards,  on  which  was 
situated  the  Hospital  of  St  Leonards,  alluded  to  in  a  previous 
part  of  the  present  work.  This  ancient  ecclesiastical  structure 
stood  near  the  east  side  of  the  most  easterly  field,  south  from  the 
public  road,  and  within  a  short  distance  of  Horsburgh  Castle. 
The  spot  which  it  occupied  is  marked  by  a  solitary  tree,  and  on 
the  roadside,  at  what  had  been  the  entrance  to  the  grounds,  still 
grows  an  ash,  perhaps  the  largest  in  Peeblesshire,  and  seemingly 
not  less  than  five  hundred  years  old. 

In  an  estate  of  this  kind,  it  is  not  easy  to  trace  the  manner  in 
which  particular  parts  were  added,  because  names  are  changed, 
and  one  farm  may  comprehend  what  was  formerly  several  distinct 
properties.  Such  is  the  case  with  Soonhope,  which,  formerly 
belonging  to  the  Smithfield  family,  was  recovered  in  detach- 
ments by  Dr  Hay.  Originally  Swynhope,  this  property  forms  a 

1  Now  called  West  Nicolson  Street,  in  which  their  house  was  No.  2,  first  door  in 
the  stair,  with  windows  looking  into  Nicolson  Street.  This  is  mentioned  from  personal 
recollections.  The  family  to  which  the  present  writer  belonged,  on  going  to  Edin- 
burgh in  1813,  occupied  a  floor  on  the  same  level  with  the  Misses  Hay,  but  reached 
by  a  separate  stair.  The  kitchen  fireplaces  of  both  dwellings  being  back  to  back,  with 
a  thin  and  imperfect  wall  between,  the  servant-girls  of  the  two  families,  both  exiles 
from  Tweedside,  were  able  to  carry  on  comforting  conversations,  by  removing  a  brick 
at  pleasure  in  the  chimney ;  through  which  irregular  channel  much  varied  intelligence 
from  Peebles  was  interchanged  between  the  two  families. — The  latest  survivor  of  the 
Misses  Hay  died  at  the  advanced  age  of  ninety-nine. 


fine  pastoral  valley,  at  the  distance  of  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile 
east  from  Peebles.  On  its  eastern  side,  the  heights  are  remarkable 
for  several  British  forts,  already  alluded  to  ;  and  at  its  inner  or 
northern  extremity,  where  tower  the  conspicuous  elevations 
called  Shielgreen  Kips,  there  are  still  visible,  on  a  lofty  knoll,  the 
foundations  of  a  medieval  castle,  reputed  to  have  been  a  hunting- 
seat  of  one  of  the  early  Scottish  kings.  From  the  high  grounds 
in  this  quarter,  Peebles  is  now  supplied  with  water. 

Another  property  of  the  same  composite  nature  is  Bonnington, 
which  is  made  up  of  three  different  Bonningtons — Bonnington 
Wylie,  Bonnington  Wood-grevington,  and  Bonnington  Bullo. 
The  last-mentioned  evidently  took  its  name  from  the  family  of 
Bullo  or  Bullock,  who  possessed  it  in  1527,  and  one  of  whom, 
'  Thomas  Bullo  in  Bonnington,'  appeared  at  the  Weapon-show  in 
1627.  He  is,  however,  spoken  of  in  the  retours,  1637,  as  son 
of  Patrick  Bullo,  portioner,  and  we  infer  that  the  family  was 
declining  in  position.  In  1678,  John  Hay  of  Haystoun  bought 
part  of  the  lands.  Dr  James  Hay,  in  the  course  of  his  acquisi- 
tions, bought  another  portion  in  1767;  and  his  son,  Sir  John, 
purchased  the  remainder  in  1824,  when  the  whole  three 
Bonningtons  were  coalesced. 

Bonnington,  in  its  united  form,  and  as  incorporated  with 
Newbie,  is  now  provided  with  one  of  the  more  improved  class  of 
steadings.  Adjoining  the  spot  where  the  buildings  have  been 
placed,  the  land  stretching  along  the  hollow  of  the  valley  was  in 
the  condition  of  a  morass  interspersed  with  large  pools,  which 
are  noticed  as  one  of  the  features  of  the  district  in  an  old  local 

rhyme  : 

'  Bonnington  lakes, 
And  Crookston  cakes, 
And  Caidmuir  on  the  Wrae, 
And  hungry,  hungry  Hundleshope, 
And  scaw'd  Bell's  Brae. ' 

Shortly  after  Sir  John  came  into  possession  of  the  estate,  he 
(1812)  executed,  at  a  cost  of  £500,  a  long  and  deep  cutting  for 
an  open  run  of  water,  by  which  the  ground  was  so  effectually 
drained,  that  the  lakes  disappeared  and  the  morass  was  dried  up. 


In  the  present  day,  intersected  with  hedgerows  dotted  with 
trees,  the  land  in  the  direction  of  Crookston  and  Hundleshopc 
exhibits  a  very  pleasing  appearance.  Sir  John  effected  sundry 
other  improvements,  and,  more  from  the  urgency  of  individuals 
than  his  own  inclinations,  purchased  a  number  of  small  proper- 
ties in  and  about  Peebles.  One  of  these  acquisitions  was  a  field 
of  five  and  a  half  acres,  lying  on  the  Waulk-mill  dam,  adjoining 
the  Cross  Church,  called  Bell's  Dam  Crofts,  in  a  valuation-roll, 
1709.  Passing  through  various  hands,  and  with  the  name 
changed  to  Dam-Dale,  this  finely  situated  field  was  possessed  in 
1802,  and  some  few  years  later,  by  'James  Kerr,  writer  in 
Peebles,'  remembered  for  his  improvident  eccentricities,  through 
which  the  Dam-Dale  claimed,  in  due  course,  a  new  owner,  from 
whom  it  was  purchased  by  Sir  John  Hay  in  1826,  for  the  sum  of 
£700.  It  now  forms  a  valuable  feuing-ground,  and  is  already 
well-nigh  covered  with  houses. 

Sir  John  Hay  died  in  1830,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest 
son,  Sir  John,  the  sixth  baronet,  elected  member  of  parliament 
for  Peeblesshire,  1832,  and  whose  portrait,  as  Provincial  Grand 
Master,  hangs  in  the  Mason  Lodge,  Peebles.  He  was  married, 
but  died  without  issue  in  1838.  He  was  succeeded  by  his 
brother,  Adam,  born  1795,  and  who,  like  his  father,  was  bred  as  a 
banker  in  the  house  of  Sir  William  Forbes  and  Company  (a  firm 
now  merged  in  the  Union  Bank  of  Scotland).  Animated  with 
the  same  desire  as.  his  predecessors  to  improve  the  family  inhe- 
ritance, Sir  Adam  has,  with  some  trouble  and  at  considerable 
expense,  been  able  to  make  some  important  acquisitions  in  order 
to  extend  and  give  compactness  to  the  estate.  In  1852,  he  gave 
Cardon,  an  outlying  property,  to  Sir  John  Naesmyth  in  exchange 
for  Crookston.  Disposing  of  some  other  properties  in  a  distant 
part  of  the  county,  he,  in  1853,  bought  Hundleshope  from  Mr 
Gillespie  for  £15,000.  Having  likewise  acquired  a  portion  of 
Caidmuir  from  the  Earl  of  Wemyss,  the  Haystoun  estate  was, 
so  to  speak,  brought  within  a  ring-fence,  and  placed  under  the 
eye  of  the  proprietor.  Such,  in  brief,  is  a  history  of  the  Hays 
and  their  possessions.  Beginning  with  an  insignificant  property 


in  the  sixteenth  century,  the  family  has,  generation  after 
generation,  by  a  proper  use  of  means  and  opportunities,  gone 
on  improving  its  inheritance,  until  the  estate  has  attained  to 
dimensions  productive  of  a  valued  rental  of  £4137  per  annum. 

Residing  at  King's  Meadows  with  his  numerous  family,  Sir 
Adam,  in  process  of  time,  felt  the  necessity  for  an  enlargement 

Fig.  47. — King's  Meadows. 

of  the  family  mansion,  which  he  effected  by  an  addition  at  the 
back  of  the  former  edifices,  in  1855.  King's  Meadows,  therefore, 
consists  now  of  an  incongruous  cluster  of  buildings,  amidst 
which,  the  old  £600  house,  with  its  white  rough-cast  gable  to 
the  river,  seems  to  be  most  uncomfortably  squeezed.  An  idea 
of  the  mansion  will  be  obtained  from  the  above  cut,  fig.  47  ; 
the  view  being  taken  from  the  north  bank  of  the  Tweed,  which 
flows,  'glitt'ring  in  the  sunny  beams,' under  the  windows  of  the 
house.  The  front  commands  a  view  of  Peebles,  half  a  mile 
distant  on  the  west. 


EDDLESTON    parish,    adjoining    that     of    Peebles    in    a 
northerly  direction,  extends  about  nine  and  a  half  miles 
from  north  to  south,  and  about  five  and  a  half  miles  from 
east   to   west   at   its   southern   or  broadest    part.1     The   parish 
consists,  nearly  altogether,  of  the  upper  section   of  the  strath 
of  the  small  river,  usually  called  Eddleston  Water,  which  joins 
the  Tweed   at   Peebles.      At  the  south-eastern  corner  of  the 
parish,  towers  aloft  the  conspicuous   hill  of  Dundreich,  which 
rises  to  a  height  of  2000 2  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea. 

The  northern  division  of  the  parish  embraces  the  high  ground, 
Ringside  Edge,  on  the  boundary  of  Midlothian,  across  which 
the  turnpike-road  is  carried  at  a  height  of  931  feet  above  sea- 
level,8  from  which  to  Peebles  there  is  a  descent  of  381  feet.  The 
railway  from  Edinburgh  crosses  the  hill  at  the  same  elevation. 
Road,  railway,  and  river  pursue  a  parallel  route  down  the  valley, 
which  at  one  spot  near  Early  Pier,  is  so  narrow,  that  excavation 
from  the  side  of  the  bank  was  necessary  to  admit  of  the  line 
of  railway.  In  former  times,  this  was  an  important  defensible 

In  the  lower  parts  of  the  parish,  disposed  as  arable  fields, 
the  land  is  now  greatly  improved.  Cultivation  has  latterly 
also  crept  up  the  adjacent  hills,  for  which  much  has  been  done 

1  Superficies,  18,590. 223  acres. — Ord.  Stir.  *  Ibid  3  Ibid. 


by  enclosing,  draining,  and  those  sheltering  woods  and  planta- 
tions that  have  sprung  up  through  the  good  taste  of  several 
proprietors.  As  an  outpost  of  Tweeddale,  the  hilly  parts  of  the 
parish  have  offered  favourable  spots  for  British  forts,  defiant  of 
invaders  from  the  borders  of  the  Firth  of  Forth.  Of  these 
ancient  strengths,  particularly  Northshields  and  Milkiston 
Rings,  some  account  has  already  been  given. 

The  most  ancient  name  of  this  section  of  the  vale  of  Eddleston 
was  Penteiacob,  under  which  appellation,  at  the  beginning  of  the 
twelfth  century,  the  lands  belonged  to  the  bishops  of  Glasgow. 
Somewhat  later,  the  district  becomes  known  as  Gillemoreston, 
but  this  it  did  not  long  retain ;  for,  previous  to  1189,  the  lands 
were  granted  to  Eadulf,  an  Anglo-Saxon  settler,  from  whom 
came  the  present  designation — Eadulf's  ton,  or  corruptedly, 
Eddleston.  Where  the  ton  or  toun l  of  Eadulf  was  placed,  is 
uncertain.  Probably,  it  occupied  a  spot  now  covered  by  a 
cluster  of  thatched  dwellings  near  the  parish  church,  which  of 
old  was  a  prebendal  dependency  of  the  cathedral  of  Glasgow. 
This  fragmentary  part  of  the  ancient  village  is  situated  about 
the  centre  of  the  parish,  on  a  rising  ground  on  the  east  side  of 
the  valley.  The  present  church  is  a  new  structure,  dating  from 
1829.  It  is  environed  by  a  burying-ground,  the  best  laid-out 
and  neatest  kept  in  the  whole  county.  Beneath,  on  the  banks 
of  the  small  river,  is  situated  the  new  village  of  Eddleston, 
built  on  a  regular  plan,  about  1785. 

For  nearly  a  century,  the  population  of  the  parish  has 
undergone  little  variation;  in  1861,  it  was  753.  According  to 
the  valuation  roll,  1657,  the  annual  rental  of  the  parish  was 
£327,  75.  qd.  sterling.  In  1863,  it  was  £8336,  igs.  4^.;  this 
amount  being  exigible  chiefly  as  rents  of  the  farms  into  which 
the  lands  are  now  divided.  ,  Exclusive  of  those  whose  properties 
are  valued  at  less  than  ;£ioo  per  annum,  there  are  only  six 
proprietors  ;  and  of  these,  three  own  by  far  the  larger  portion 

1  In  Peeblesshire,  as  in  some  other  parts  of  Scotland,  a  cluster  of  buildings,  as,  for 
example,  a  farm-steading,  is  popularly  called  a  toun,  a  signification  borne  out  by  the 
original  Anglo-Saxon  meaning  of  the  word. 


of  the  parish.  The  most  noted  estate  is  that  of  Darn  Hall,  the 
property  of  the  Murrays,  Lords  Elibank.  The  name  Darn  Hall 
is  modern  ;  or  at  least  is  employed  for  the  first  time  in  1536. 
It  has  superseded  the  more  historical  designation,  Blackbarony, 
which,  however,  was  not  the  earliest  by  which  the  property 
is  styled  in  the  family  writs.  The  oldest  recorded  name  is 
Haltoun  or  Haldoun,  now  entirely  unknown,  or  only  distin- 
guishable in  the  corrupted  form  of  Hatton-knowe,  which  is 
applied  to  one  of  the  farms.  Occasionally,  the  property  was 
called  Halton-Murray,  to  distinguish  it  probably  from  another 
Halton  in  possession  of  the  Lauders,  whose  property,  as  far 
as  we  can  judge,  lay  further  down  the  valley.  The  Murrays, 
descended  from  the  Moreffs  or  Moravias,  who  figure  in  the 
Ragman  Roll,  come  into  notice  as  proprietors  in  this  quarter  in 
the  fourteenth  century.  At  the  beginning  of  the  fifteenth,  that 
is  in  1412,  a  writ  refers  to  '  George  de  Moravia  Dominus  de 
Halton;'  and  another  writ,  under  date  1518,  mentions  'the 
barony  of  Haltoun,  alias  the  Blackbarony,'  by  which  the  two 
designations  are  identified  as  applying  to  the  same  property.1 

This  ancient  domain  of  Haltoun  or  Blackbarony  was  very 
extensive ;  for  it  appears  to  have,  at  one  time,  embraced  nearly 
the  whole  of  the  lands,  north  and  south,  in  the  upper  section  of 
the  strath  of  Eddleston  Water.  For  the  sake  of  distinction, 
the  estate  was  ordinarily  divided  into  two  parts.  Blackbarony 
was  that  portion  lying  on  the  north  or  right  bank  of  the 
Eddleston,  while  Whitebarony  was  that  on  the  left ;  but  these 
were  only  terms  of  convenience ;  the  whole  was  but  one  property, 
possessed  by  the  Murrays,  whose  residence  was  at  Darn  Hall, 
on  the  Blackbarony  side  of  the  valley. 

John  Murray  of  Blackbarony,  the  eighth  laird  in  the  family 
roll,  is  reputed  to  have  been  a  man  of  great  bravery  and  forti- 
tude, qualities  which  he  evinced  by  following  James  IV.  to  the 
fatal  field  of  Flodden,  and  there  perishing  with  him.  He  was 
succeeded  by  his  only  son,  Andrew,  who  added  to  the  family 
possessions  by  acquiring  part  of  Ballencrief,  in  Haddingtonshire,  a 

1  Elibank  Papers. 


portion  of  which  lands  had  been  previously  acquired  by  his  father. 
From  Andrew  several  lines  of  Murrays  are  descended.  He  had 
four  sons  and  four  daughters,  but  not  to  confuse  our  narrative, 
we  shall  specify  only  the  first  and  third  son,  John  his  heir,  and 
Gideon,  the  progenitor  of  the  Murrays  of  Elibank.  John,  who 
succeeded  on  the  death  of  his  father,  received  the  honour  of 
knighthood  from  James  VI.  in  1592.  Sir  John  Murray  acquired 
some  local  celebrity  for  enclosing  the  hitherto  open  lands  on  his 
estate  with  stone  walls,  the  first  of  the  kind  in  Peeblesshire,  and 
from  which  operations  he  became  popularly  known  as  the  Dyker. 
We  have  no  doubt  that  the  Dyker  was  a  man  in  advance  of  his 
time,  who  saw  the  importance  of  fencing,  planting,  and  otherwise 
improving  his  extensive  property.  Archibald,  his  son,  who 
succeeded  as  heir,  was  created  a  baronet  of  Nova  Scotia,  with 
continuation  to  his  heirs-male,  by  Charles  I.,  May  15,  1628.  Sir 
Archibald,  the  first  baronet,  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 
Sir  Alexander  Murray,  who  was  appointed  high-sheriff  of 
Peeblesshire  by  Oliver  Cromwell. 

From  about  this  period,  a  living  interest  is  attached  to  the 
Murrays  of  Blackbarony.  They  are  frequently  mixed  up  with 
public  events,  take  a  lead  in  the  county,  and  keep  house 
with  considerable  degree  of  state  at  Darn  Hall.  This  edifice, 
originally  a  border  tower,  situated  in  a  dcrn  or  concealed  place, 
and  hence  its  name,  had  already  been  amplified  by  additions 
adapted  to  the  growing  distinction  of  the  family.  One  of  the 
lairds,  possibly  the  Dyker,  had  planted  a  double  row  of  limes, 
extending  down  the  slope  to  the  outer  access  to  the  grounds, 
forming  a  straight  and  broad  avenue  to  the  mansion. 

Except  Traquair,  there  was  nothing  grander  in  its  way  in 
Peeblesshire  than  Darn  Hall,  and  it  seems  to  have  quite  fitted 
the  taste  for  magnificence  of  Sir  Alexander  Murray,  the  second 
baronet.  It  is  related  of  this  stately  personage  that,  on  the 
occasion  of  giving  entertainments  at  Darn  Hall,  he  equipped  his 
servants  and  tenants  in  liveries,  which  he  kept  for  the  purpose, 
and  placed  them  on  each  side  of  the  grand  avenue,  all  the  way 
to  the  door  of  his  residence ;  and  that  when  they  had  so 


done  their  duty,  they,  by  a  back-way,  reached  the  house,  and 
performed  over  again  in  the  vestibule  and  staircase.  It  is 
further  alleged,  that  having  seen  the  king  of  Portugal  walk  with 
a  shuffling  gait  in  consequence  of  weakness  in  his  ankles,  Sir 
Alexander  always  afterwards,  as  a  mark  of  courtly  manners, 
affected  the  same  awkward  species  of  locomotion.  But  the  thing 
on  which  he  chiefly  prided  himself  was  something  superior  to 
either  his  suite  of  attendants  or  his  mode  of  walking.  One  day, 
a  gentleman  speaking  to  him  of  old  families,  he  replied  :  '  Sir, 
there  are  plenty  of  old  families  in  this  country,  in  France, 
Germany,  and,  indeed,  all  over  the  world  ;  but  there  are  only 
three  Houses — the  Bourbons  of  France,  the  Hapsburgs  of 
Austria,  and  the  Murrays  of  Blackbarony  !' 

With  all  this  love  of  show  and  fancied  greatness,  Sir  Alexander 
had  the  address  so  to  economise  expenditure  as  to  rear  a  large 
family  of  children,  and  settle  them  all  respectably.  He  was 
twice  married.  By  his  first  wife,  he  had  two  sons  and  two 
daughters.  Archibald,  the  eldest  son,  was  his  heir,  and  Richard, 
the  second  son,  acquired  Spitalhaugh.  Of  his  second  marriage, 
there  was  one  son,  John  (to  whom  he  assigned  the  lands  after- 
wards known  as  Cringletie),  and  five  daughters.  Two  of  these 
young  ladies  were  married  to  gentlemen  in  the  county.  Janet 
became  the  wife  of  John  Hay  of  Haystoun,  of  whose  son,  Dr  James 
Hay,  and  other  members  of  his  numerous  family,  something  has 
already  been  said.  The  other  was  married  to  Murray  of  Murray's 
Hall,  now  Halmyre.  The  story  of  the  courtship  of  Janet — or 
Jean,  as  she  is  styled  in  the  legend — may  not  perhaps  be  entirely 
vouched  for ;  but  is  too  illustrative  of  old  manners,  and  of  the 
finesse  which  was  sometimes  employed  by  mothers  of  young 
ladies  of  quality  in  securing  an  eligible  suitor,  to  be  omitted. 

One  day — so  goes  this  popular  tradition — as  Sir  Alexander  Murray 
was  strolling  down  the  avenue,  he  saw  the  Laird  of  Haystoun,  mounted 
on  his  white  pony,  approaching,  as  if  with  the  intention  of  visiting 
Darn  Hall.  After  the  usual  greetings,  Murray  asked  Haystoun  if  that 
was  his  intention.  '  Deed,  it 's  just  that,'  quoth  Haystoun,  *  and  I  '11  tell 
you  my  errand.  I  am  gaun  to  court  your  daughter  Jean.'  The  Laird 


of  Blackbarony  (who,  for  a  reason  that  will  afterwards  appear,  was  not 
willing  that  his  neighbour  should  pay  his  visit  at  that  particular  time) 
gave  the  thing  the  go-by,  by  saying  that  his  daughter  was  ower  young  for 
the  laird.  '  E'en 's  you  like,'  quoth  Haystoun,  who  was  somewhat  dorty, 
and  who  thereupon  took  an  unceremonious  leave  of  Blackbarony, 
hinting  that  his  visit  would  perhaps  be  more  acceptable  somewhere  else. 
Blackbarony  went  home,  and  immediately  told  his-  wife  what  had  passed. 
Her  ladyship,  on  a  moment's  reflection,  seeing  the  advantage  that  was 
likely  to  be  lost  in  the  establishment  of  her  daughter,  and  to  whom  the 
disparity  of  years  was  no  objection,  immediately  exclaimed :  '  Are  you 
daft,  laird?  Gang  awa'  immediately,  and  call  Haystoun  back  again.' 
On  this,  the  laird  observed— (and  this  turned  out  the  cogent  reason  for 
his  having  declined  Haystoun's  visit) — '  Ye  ken,  my  dear,  Jean's  shoon  's 
at  the  mending.'  (For  the  misses  of  those  days  had  but  one  pair,  and 
these  good  substantial  ones,  which  would  make  a  strange  figure  in  a 
drawing-room  of  the  present  day.)  '  Ye  ken  Jean's  shoon  's  at  the 
mending.'  '  Hoot  awa,  sic  nonsense,'  says  her  ladyship ;  '  I  '11  gie  her 
mine.'  '  And  what  will  ye  do  yoursel  1 '  '  Do  1 '  says  the  lady :  '  I  '11 
put  on  your  boots  ;  I  Ve  lang  petticoats,  and  they  will  never  be  noticed. 
Rin  and  cry  back  the  laird.'  Blackbarony  was  at  once  convinced  by 
the  reasoning  and  ingenuity  of  his  wife ;  and  as  Haystoun's  pony  was 
none  of  the  fleetest,  Blackbarony  had  little  difficulty  in  overtaking  him, 
and  persuading  him  to  return  again.  The  laird  having  really  conceived 
an  affection  for  his  neighbour's  daughter,  the  visit  was  paid.  Jean  was 
introduced  in  her  mother's  shoes ;  the  boots  were  never  noticed ;  and 
the  wedding  took  place  in  due  time,  and  was  celebrated  with  all  the 
mirth  and  jollity  usually  displayed  on  such  occasions.  The  union  turned 
out  happily,  and  from  it,  as  has  been  said,  sprung  the  present  family 
of  Haystoun. 

Sir  Alexander  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  Sir  Archibald,  the 
third  baronet,  who  comes  frequently  into  notice  in  the  reign  of 
Charles  II.,  as  lieutenant-colonel  of  the  militia  regiment  of 
Linlithgow  and  Peeblesshire,  employed  during  that  period  of 
civil  commotion.  Surviving  the  Revolution,  he  left  a  son, 
Alexander,  his  heir,  and  four  other  sons,  likewise  two  daughters. 
There  now  ensues  a  revolution  in  the  family.  Three  of  the 
younger  sons  died  unmarried  ;  their  next  elder  brother,  Captain 
Archibald  Murray,  was  married,  and  had  a  daughter,  Margaret. 
Sir  Alexander,  the  laird,  was  married,  but  had  no  children,  and 
resigned  Blackbarony  to  Margaret  his  niece,  who  married  John 


Stewart  of  Ascog.  The  baronetcy  devolved  on  the  heirs  of 
Richard  Murray  of  Spitalhaugh,  a  property  long  since  out  of  the 
family  (see  NEWLANDS).  With  the  descendants  of  Richard,  the 
baronetcy  still  remains,  though  those  who  enjoy  it  have  no 
territorial  connection  with  the  county. 

Leaving  Blackbarony  in  possession  of  the  Stewarts,  we  revert 
to  Gideon  Murray,  whose  ennobled  descendants  were  destined  to 
recover  the  old  family  seat  of  Darn  Hall.  Gideon,  the  third  son 
of  Sir  John  Murray,  the  Dyker,  was  reared  for  the  church,  and 
was  appointed  to  the  office  of '  chanter  of  Aberdeen.'  Happening 
to  kill  a  man — not  an  unusual  occurrence  in  the  early  part  of 
the  reign  of  James  VI. — he  was  imprisoned  in  Edinburgh  Castle, 
but  was  afterwards  pardoned,  and  for  some  recommendable 
qualities  received  a  charter  of  the  lands  of  Elibank,  county  of 
Selkirk,  March  15,  1594-95.  Subsequently,  he.  had  grants  of 
other  lands,  and  in  him  centred  the  lands  of  Ballencrief.  In 
1605,  he  received  the  honour  of  knighthood  ;  was  constituted 
treasurer-depute  in  1611  ;  and  in  1613,  was  appointed  one  of 
the  Lords  of  the  Court  of  Session. 

From  these  and  other  circumstances,  Sir  Gideon,  or,  as  he  was 
familiarly  called  by  the  country-people,  Sir  Judane,  Murray,  was 
evidently  a  man  of  high  trust  in  the  reign  of  James  VI.,  and  was 
able  to  keep  house,  first  at  the  Provostry  of  Creighton,  and 
afterwards  at  Elibank,  in  a  manner  outshining  his  relatives 
at  Darn  Hall.  As  he  was  noted  for  his  reparations  on  the 
royal  palaces  and  castles,  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  he 
either  wholly  built  the  castle  of  Elibank,  or  extended  it  from  the 
condition  of  an  old  border  tower.  Now  a  shattered  ruin,  occu- 
pying a  commanding  situation  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Tweed, 
Elibank  still  shews  signs  of  having  been  a  residence  of  a  very 
imposing  character,  defensible  according  to  the  usages  of  the 
period  at  which  it  was  inhabited.  Here,  then,  when  not  engaged 
in  state  affairs,  Sir  Gideon  lived  with  his  family.  He  had  married 
Margaret  Pentland,  and  had  three  sons,  Patrick,  William,  and 
Walter,  and  one  daughter,  Agnes.  How  the  circumstance  of 
having  only  one  daughter  is  to  be  reconciled  with  the  story 


related  by  Sir  Walter  Scott,  in  his  Border  Antiquities,  after- 
wards versified  by  James  Hogg,  and  now  universally  credited, 
we  are  at  a  loss  to  say.  We  may  at  least  repeat  this  amusing 
legend  in  Scott's  own  words  : 

'  The  Scotts  and  Murrays  were  ancient  enemies ;  and  as  the  possessions 
of  the  former  adjoined  to  those  of  the  latter,  or  lay  contiguous  to  them 
on  many  points,  they  were  at  no  loss  for  opportunities  of  exercising  their 
enmity  "according  to  the  custom  of  the  Marches."  In  the  seventeenth 
century,  the  greater  part  of  the  property  lying  upon  the  river  Ettrick 
belonged  to  Scott  of  Harden,  who  made  his  principal  residence  at 
Oakwood  Tower,  a  border-house  of  strength  still  remaining  upon  that 
river.  William  Scott  (afterwards  Sir  William),  son  of  the  head  of  this 
family,  undertook  an  expedition  against  the  Murrays  of  Elibank,  whose 
property  lay  at  a  few  miles  distant.  He  found  his  enemy  upon  their 
guard,  was  defeated,  and  made  prisoner  in  the  act  of  driving  off  the 
cattle,  which  he  had  collected  for  that  purpose.  Our  hero,  Sir  Gideon 
Murray,  conducted  his  prisoner  to  the  castle,  where  his  lady  received 
him  with  congratulations  upon  his  victory,  and  inquiries  concerning  the 
fate  to  which  he  destined  his  prisoner.  "  The  gallows,"  answered  Sir 
Gideon — for  he  is  said  already  to  have  acquired  the  honour  of  knight- 
hood— "  to  the  gallows  with  the  marauder."  "  Hout  na,  Sir  Gideon," 
answered  the  considerate  matron  in  her  vernacular  idiom  ;  "  would  you 
hang  the  winsome  young  Laird  of  Harden,  when  ye  have  three  ill-favoured 
daughters  to  marry?"  "Right,"  answered  the  baron,  who  catched  at 
the  idea ;  "  he  shall  either  marry  our  daughter,  mickle-mouthed  Meg,  or 
strap  for  it."  Upon  this  alternative  being  proposed  to  the  prisoner,  he, 
upon  the  first  view  of  the  case,  stoutly  preferred  the  gibbet  to  "  mickle- 
mouthed  Meg,"  for  such  was  the  nickname  of  the  young  lady,  whose  real 
name  was  Agnes.  But  at  length,  when  he  was  literally  led  forth  to 
execution,  and  saw  no  other  chance  of  escape,  he  retracted  his  ungallant 
resolution,  and  preferred  the  typical  noose  of  matrimony  to  the  literal  cord 
of  hemp.  Such  is  the  tradition  established  in  both  families,  and  often 
jocularly  referred  to  upon  the  borders.  It  may  be  necessary  to  add,  that 
mickle-mouthed  Meg  and  her  husband  were  a  happy  and  loving  pair, 
and  had  a  very  large  family.' 

Sir  Gideon's  only  daughter  was  certainly  married  to  young 
Scott  of  Harden,  but  it  is  as  true  that  the  marriage  did 
not  take  place  hurriedly,  but  was  the  subject  of  a  deliberate 
contract,  to  which  there  were  four  assenting  parties — Sir  Gideon 
Murray  and  Walter  Scott  of  Harden,  as  the  two  fathers,  and 


William  Scott,  younger  of  Harden,  and  Agnes  Murray,  the  two 
to  be  united.  This  contract,  existing  among  the  Elibank  Papers, 
is  a  very  curious  document.  It  consists  of  a  series  of  sheets  of 
paper  pasted  together,  forming  a  strip  about  ten  inches  broad 
and  eight  feet  long,  well  covered  on  one  side  with  writing,  and 
defines,  among  other  matters,  the  tocher  to  be  given  with  Agnes, 
which  was  seven  thousand  merks  Scots  (£388,  \js.  o//.  sterling). 
The  deed  purports  to  be  executed  at  the  '  Provost's  place  of 
Crighton,'  July  14,  1611.  The  young  lady  subscribes  with  a 
bold  hand,  '  Agnes  Morray.'  Walter  Scott  of  Harden,  the  father- 
in-law,  was  so  illiterate  as  to  be  unable  to  sign  his  name,  and 
adhibits  his  consent  as  follows :  '  Walter  Scott  of  Harden,  with 
my  hand  at  the  pen,  led  be  the  notaries  underwritten,  because  I 
can  nocht  write.'  William  Scott,  his  son,  subscribes  without 
assistance.  From  another  old  writ,  it  is  seen  that  '  Dame 
Margaret  Pentland,'  wife  of  Sir  Gideon,  and  mother  of  Agnes 
and  of  the  first  Lord  Elibank,  had  no  more  knowledge  of  letters 
than  Walter  Scott  of  Harden,  for  she  subscribes  by  a  notary 
because  she  '  can  nocht  write.' 

Placed  in  the  position  of  treasurer-depute,  Sir  Gideon  Murray 
is  said  to  have  acquitted  himself  as  an  able  financier,  on  the 
occasion  of  the  visit  of  James  VI.  to  Scotland  in  1617,  for  which 
and  other  services  he  secured  the  confidence  of  the  king,  who, 
as  a  mark  of  favour,  bestowed  on  him  the  gilt  cups  and  other 
'  propynes '  which  had  been  gifted  to  his  majesty  by  the  cities  of 
Edinburgh,  Glasgow,  and  Carlisle. 

So  highly  did  the  king  esteem  Sir  Gideon,  that  when  on  one 
occasion  he  happened  to  let  his  glove  fall,  his  majesty  stooped 
and  gave  it  to  him  again,  saying :  '  My  predecessor,  Queen 
Elizabeth,  thought  she  did  a  favour  to  any  man  who  was 
speaking  to  her  when  she  let  her  glove  fall,  that  he  might  take  it 
up,  and  give  to  her  again  ;  but,  sir,  you  may  say  a  king  lifted  up 
your  glove.'  If  there  be  any  truth  in  this  story,  Sir  Gideon  had 
reason  to  feel  that  the  friendship  of  James  was  far  from  secure. 
Capricious,  and  influenced  by  parasites,  the  king  believed  a 
malicious  accusation  against  Sir  Gideon,  and  had  him  seized  and 


sent  a  prisoner  to  Scotland  to  be  tried — an  indignity  which  so 
preyed  upon  him  that  he  abstained  from  food  for  several  days, 
and  sinking  into  a  state  of  stupor,  died  on  the  28th  of  June  1621. 
Sir  Gideon  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son,  Sir  Patrick 
Murray,  who  was  created  a  baronet  in  1628,  and  advanced  to 
the  peerage  as  Lord  Elibank,  1643.  He  was  succeeded  by 
Patrick  the  second,  and  Patrick  the  third  Lord  Elibank.  The 
son  and  successor  of  the  last  mentioned  was  Alexander,  the 
fourth  baron,  who  left  five  sons — Patrick,  who  succeeded  as 
fifth  Lord  Elibank,  George,  Gideon,  Alexander,  and  James.  We 
pause  a  moment  to  refer  to  the  youngest,  the  Hon.  James  Murray, 
a  general  in  the  army,  who  was  governor  of  Canada  in  1763,  and 
in  1781  stood  a  siege  in  Fort  St  Philip,  Minorca,  when  that 
island  was  invaded  by  the  French  under  the  Due  de  Crillon. 
An  incident  occurred  on  this  occasion,  worthy  of  being  noticed 
in  the  family  history.  Failing  to  secure  the  fort  by  force  of 
arms,  the  Due  de  Crillon  sent  a  secret  message  to  General 
Murray,  offering  to  pay  him  ;£  100,000  sterling  for  the  surrender 
of  the  place.1  Indignant  at  this  attempt  to  corrupt  his  integrity, 
he  sent  the  following  spirited  reply,  dated  October  16,  1781  : 

'  When  your  brave  ancestor  was  desired  by  his  sovereign  to  assassinate 
the  Due  de  Guise,  he  returned  the  answer  which  you  should  have  done, 
when  you  were  charged  to  assassinate  the  character  of  a  man  whose 
birth  is  as  illustrious  as  your  own  or  that  of  the  Due  de  Guise.  I  can 
have  no  further  communication  with  you  but  in  arms.  If  you  have  any 
humanity,  pray  send  clothing  for  your  unfortunate  prisoners  in  my 
possession ;  leave  it  at  a  distance,  to  be  taken  up  by  them,  because  I 
will  admit  of  no  contact  for  the  future,  but  such  as  is  hostile  to  the  most 
inveterate  degree.'  To  this  the  duke  replied :  '  Your  letter  restores 
each  of  us  to  our  places ;  it  confirms  me  in  the  high  opinion  I  have 
always  had  of  you.  I  accept  your  last  proposal  with  pleasure.' — The 
general,  as  is  well  known,  bravely  held  out  until  famine  and  disease 
obliged  him  to  capitulate,  Feb.  5,  1782.  'I  yield  to  God  and  not  to 
man,'  was  the  memorable  saying  of  General  Murray,  on  rendering  up 
the  emaciated  defenders  of  the  garrison,  whose  appearance  drew  tears 
from  the  French  officers  and  soldiers. 

Patrick,  fifth    Lord    Elibank,  was   an    accomplished   man  of 

1  History  of  England. 



letters,  and  commemorated  as  the  friend  of  Dr  Samuel  Johnson, 
whom  he  entertained  at  Ballencrief,  on  his  visiting  Edinburgh. 
He  died  in  1778,  and  was  succeeded  by  George,  his  brother,  an 
eminent  naval  officer,  who,  at  his  decease  in  1785,  was  succeeded 
by  his  nephew,  Alexander,  son  of  Gideon  Murray,  D.D., 
prebendary  of  Durham.  Alexander,  the  seventh  Lord  Elibank, 
bred  an  officer  in  the  army,  will  be  remembered  as  commander 
of  the  local  militia  of  Peeblesshire.  There  having  been  no  issue 

Fig.  48.— Dam  Hall. 

of  the  marriage  of  Stewart  of  Ascog  and  Margaret  Murray,  the 
Blackbarony  estate,  so  far  as  not  disposed  of,  went  in  virtue  of  a 
deed  of  entail  to  Alexander,  seventh  Lord  Elibank,  in  whom 
the  several  properties  belonging  to  the  family  in  Selkirkshire, 
Haddingtonshire,  and  Peeblesshire,  were  united  ;  whereupon  the 
Elibank  branch  of  the  Murrays  was  reinstated  in  Darn  Hall. 
This  peer  died  in  1820,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 
Alexander,  as  eighth  baron.  On  the  decease  of  that  nobleman 
in  1830,  the  title  and  property  devolved  on  his  eldest  son, 

Alexander-Oliphant,  the  present  peer. 



The  Murrays  of  Elibank,  whose  history  we  have  very  faintly 
sketched,  long  since  vacated  the  old  castle  of  their  ancestor, 
Sir  Gideon,  and  leaving  it  to  sink  to  decay,  have  returned 
permanently  to  the  original  residence  of  Darn  Hall.  By  the 
tastefulness  of  its  present  proprietor,  the  house  has  been  greatly 
extended  and  improved.  As  shewn  in  the  preceding  cut,  fig.  48, 
it  is  a  massive  square  mansion,  ornamented  by  corner  turrets 
in  the  old  French-chateau  style.  It  contains  some  good  family 
pictures,  including  one  of  Patrick,  fifth  Lord  Elibank.  Around 
the  house,  the  grounds  are  very  beautiful ;  while  that  old  spacious 
avenue  of  limes,  though  now  disused  as  an  approach,  remains 
a  striking  object  in  the  scene,  reminding  us  of  John  the  Dyker, 
and  his  grandson,  Sir  Alexander  the  Magnificent. 

Since  possessed  by  these  worthies,  the  estate  of  Blackbarony 
has  undergone  various  mutations,  and  is  now  considerably  less 
than  it  was.  Milkiston,  which  had  been  disposed  of,  has  been 
re-attached  by  the  present  Lord  Elibank  at  a  cost  of  about 
;£  1 2,000.  Latterly,  increased  by  this  means,  and  much  improved 
in  various  ways,  the  entire  property  within  the  parish,  in  1863, 
had  a  valued  rental  of  £1783,  2s. 

Halton-Murray,  or  Blackbarony,  might  almost  be  called  the 
parent  estate  in  the  parish,  for  from  it  most  other  properties 
have  been  excavated.  It  began  to  be  disposed  of  in  the  early 
part  of  the  eighteenth  century.  To  judge  from  the  valuation 
rolls,  the  estate  was  entire  in  1709,  but  in  1740  it  had  dwindled 
to  less  than  a  fourth,  and  we  then  see  a  generally  new  order  of 

The  chief  purchaser  of  the  dismembered  Blackbarony  estate 
was  the  Earl  of  Portmore,  a  personage  no  way  connected  with 
the  district,  and  of  whom  and  his  titled  successors  all  recollection 
is  lost.  We  may  give  a  passing  word  to  this  now  forgotten 
family.  Sprung  from  the  Robertsons  of  Strowan,  and  becoming 
a  soldier  of  fortune,  the  first  of  the  family  comes  into  notice  as 
fighting  in  the  Dutch  service  at  the  end  of  the  seventeenth 
century,  at  which  time  he  had  adopted  the  surname  of  Colyear. 
Sir  David  Colyear  came  to  England  with  William  III.,  and  for 


his  services  was  raised  to  the  peerage  as  Lord  Portmore.  After- 
wards, 1703,  he  was  created  Earl  of  Portmore.  By  him  or  his 
son  and  successor,  a  large  section  of  the  Blackbarony  estate  was 
acquired,  including  that  part  on  the  south  near  the  modern 
Portmore  House  ;  the  family  also  acquired  the  barony  of  Aber- 
lady.  In  1835,  family  and  earldom  were  extinct,  but  long  before 
that  event,  the  several  estates  just  referred  to  were,  through  the 
pressure  of  necessity,  disposed  of. 

Among  all  the  good  bargains  of  land  it  is  our  pleasant  lot  to 
record,  none,  we  think,  can  be  compared  with  that  about  to  be 
mentioned.  In  1798,  the  Portmore  possessions  in  Haddington- 
shire  and  Peeblesshire  were  purchased  for  £22,000,  by  Alexander 
Mackenzie,1  who,  in  1799,  sold  the  Haddingtonshire  portion, 
comprehending  the  barony  and  village  of  Aberlady,  to  the  Earl 
of  Wemyss,  for  .£24,000.*  Where,  alas !  whether  at  public  auction 
or  by  private  arrangement,  is  such  a  marvellous  bargain  now  to 
be  secured  ?  The  portion  in  Peeblesshire,  formerly  a  part  of 
Halton-Murray,  consisted  of  East  and  West  Lochs,  Kingside, 
Courhope,  Cloich,  Shiplaw,  and  Over  Falla,  in  the  parish  of 
Eddleston,  and  East  and  West  Deans'  Houses,  in  the  parish  of 
Newlands.  Courhope  and  Cloich,  and  also  East  and  West 
Deans'  Houses,  have  been  latterly  disposed  of  for  considerable 

Alexander  Mackenzie,  the  fortunate  purchaser  of  the  Portmore 
estate  in  1798,  was  a  writer  to  the  Signet  in  Edinburgh,  and 
descendant  of  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie  of  Garioch.  Getting 
the  Peeblesshire  property,  as  it  may  be  said,  for  nothing, 
neither  he  nor  his  immediate  successor  made  much  of  it,  in 
consequence  of  the  lands  being  let  on  exceedingly  long  leases 
at  a  very  insignificant  rent  At  the  decease  of  Mr  Mackenzie, 
the  lands  were  inherited  by  his  son,  Colin  Mackenzie,  deputy- 
keeper  of  the  Signet,  who  had  a  large  family  by  his  wife, 
Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Sir  William  Forbes,  Bart.,  of  Pitsligo. 
The  eldest  son,  William  Forbes  Mackenzie,  who  succeeded  in 

1  Public  Records,  General  Register  House.  '  Portmore  Papers. 



1830,  was  for  some  time  member  of  parliament  for  the  county, 
and  enjoyed  a  certain  notoriety  by  having  his  name  associated 
with  the  well-known  Public-house  Act  for  Scotland.  When 
retired  from  public  life,  Mr  Mackenzie  died  suddenly  in  1862, 
and  was  succeeded  by  his  only  chifd,  the  present  Colin  James 
Mackenzie  of  Portmore. 

By  Colin  Mackenzie,  the  son  of  the  purchaser,  the  estate  was 
improved   by  planting   and  other  costly  operations.      He  also 

Fig.  49. — Portmore  House. 

enlarged  it  by  acquiring  Whitebarony  and  other  lands  in  the 
neighbourhood  ;  but  the  higher  district  remained,  for  the  greater 
part,  in  a  dreary  backward  condition — a  circumstance  ascribed  to 
the  perniciously  long  leases  at  rents  which  offered  no  stimulus  to 
improvement.1  That  the  leases  on  this  property,  protracted  till 
about  1834,  should  have  been  attended  with  consequences  so 
different  from  what  ensued  in  regard  to  the  Neidpath  estate,  is  a 
fact  not  unworthy  of  notice.  Although  limited  in  dimensions  by 
the  sales  above  referred  to,  the  estate  of  Portmore  had,  in  1863, 

1  Statistical  Account,  by  Rev.  Patrick  Robertson,  1834. 


a  valued  rental  of  £3720,  qs.  For  many  years,  the  family  of  the 
proprietor  resided  in  a  small  house  at  Harcus,  but  recently  this 
was  abandoned  for  a  new  and  commodious  mansion,  in  a 
handsome  style  of  architecture,  situated  on  an  elevated  ground, 
and  commanding  an  extensive  view  southwards  down  the  valley. 
Adorned  by  well-grown  woods,  the  grounds  around  Portmore 
possess  some  degree  of  interest  by  including  the  ancient  British 
fort,  known  as  Northshield  Rings.  They  are  further  attractive 
by  bordering  on  a  pretty  sheet  of  water,  two  miles  in  circum- 
ference, now  known  as  Portmore  Loch.  In  Blaew's  map,  the 
outlet  of  this  mountain  tarn  is  marked  as  towards  Eddleston 
Water.  It  has  no  exit  in  this  direction.  From  its  northern 
extremity  flows  a  burn  as  a  feeder  of  the  South  Esk,  which, 
uniting  with  the  North  Esk  at  Dalkeith,  falls  into  the  sea  at 
Musselburgh.  In  the  description  of  the  lake  by  Blaew,  it  is  said 
to  abound  in  fish,  principally  eels,  which,  rushing  out  with 
impetuosity  in  the  month  of  August,  are  caught  in  such  great 
numbers  by  the  country  people,  as  to  be  a  source  of  much 
profit.  In  the  present  day,  perch,  pike,  and  eels  are  stated  to  be 
found  in  the  loch,  but  not  in  that  overwhelming  abundance 
narrated  by  the  Dutch  chronicler.  Dundreich,  with  its  huge 
rounded  form,  rises  on  the  south  ;  and  immediately  adjoining,  in 
a  south-easterly  direction,  is  the  hill  called  Powbeat,  on  which, 
it  is  alleged,  there  is  a  spring  so  deep  and  mysterious,  as  to  give 
rise  to  the  notion  that  the  hill  is  full  of  water.  The  common 
people  in  the  neighbourhood  amuse  themselves  with  a  specula- 
tion as  to  the  mischief  which  would  be  occasioned  were  the  sides 
of  the  hill  to  burst.  Observing  the  direction  of  the  valley  of  the 
South  Esk,  they  conclude  that  the  deluge  would  flow  towards 
Dalkeith,  carrying  off,  in  the  first  place,  three  farms,  and  finally 
sweeping  away  several  kirks  in  its  destructive  course.  These 
whimsical  conjectures  are  thrown  into  a  popular  rhyme,  as  follows : 

'  Powbate,  an'  ye  break, 
Tak'  the  Moorfoot  in  your  gate, 
Huntly-cot,  a'  three, 
Moorfoot  and  Mauldslie, 
Five  kirks  and  an  abbacie.' 


The  five  kirks  are  those  belonging  to  the  parishes  of  Temple, 
Carrington,  Borthwick,  Cockpen,  and  Dalkeith ;  and  the  abbey 
(which  shews  the  antiquity  of  the  rhyme)  is  that  formerly 
existing  at  Newbattle. 

The  estate  of  Cringletie,  increased  by  recent  acquisitions,  lies 
generally  to  the  south  of  Blackbarony,  the  distance  from  Darn 
Hall  to  Cringletie  House  being  about  two  miles.  The  Murrays, 
the  present  proprietors,  are,  as  above  described,  descended  from 
Sir  Alexander  Murray  of  Blackbarony  (time  of  Charles  I.  and 
Commonwealth),  by  a  second  marriage  with  Margaret,  daughter 
of  Sir  David  Murray  of  Stanhope.  John,  the  son  of  this  pair, 
received  from  his'  father,  in  1667,  the  lands  of  Upper  and  Nether 
Kidston,  purchased  by  him  only  a  year  before,  and  which  lands, 
along  with  Easter  and  Wester  Wormiston,  were  erected  into  a 
barony  called  Cringletie,  in  1671.  Kidston,  in  its  various  parts, 
at  one  time  belonged  to  Lord  Fleming,  and  afterwards  to  the 
Earl  of  Douglas,  who  conveyed  the  lands  to  a  family  named 
Lauder.  These  Lauders  appear  to  have  had  considerable  pos- 
sessions about  Eddleston  Water.  In  the  returns,  under  date 
1603,  mention  is  made  of '  Alexander  Lauder  of  Haltoun,'  heir 
of  Alexander  Lauder,  who  was  killed  at  the  battle  of  Pinkie  ;  and 
in  1655,  there  was  a  '  John  Lauder  of  Hethpool.'  It  is  interesting 
to  note  how  this  family,  which  cut  a  figure  in  the  sixteenth  and 
seventeenth  centuries,  culminated,  waned,  and  disappeared.  As 
early  as  1512,  there  are  writs  embracing  the  Green  Meldoun, 
which,  from  its  description,  is  assumed  to  be  Hamilton  or 
Hamildean  Hill.  By  a  charter  of  resignation  and  novodamus, 
1610,  this  hill,  the  subject  of  future  contests  with  the  town  of 
Peebles,  was  associated  with  Kidston  and  Wormiston,  in  virtue 
of  which  it  was  adjudged  to  be  part  and  parcel  of  the  Cringletie 
estate,  and  as  such  it  remains  till  the  present  day. 

As  the  Lauders  vanish  from  the  stage,  the  Murrays  come  into 
view.  John  Murray,  the  first  of  Cringletie,  was  succeeded  by  his 
brother  Alexander,  who  had  two  sons — Alexander,  his  heir,  and 
Archibald,  who  was  bred  an  advocate,  and  to  whose  descend- 
ants we  shall  afterwards  refer.  Alexander,  who  succeeded 


to  Cringletie,  officiated  for  some  time  as  sheriff-depute  of 
Peeblesshire  under  the  Earl  of  March,  and  represented  the 
county  in  three  several  parliaments.  Alexander,  his  eldest  son, 
succeeded  him,  and  acquired  distinction  as  an  officer  in  the  army, 
in  which  he  rose  to  the  rank  of  lieutenant-colonel.  He  held  a 
command  at  the  siege  of  Louisburg,  capital  of  Cape  Breton,  and 
afterwards  served  with  distinction  under  General  Wolfe,  at  the 
battle  of  Quebec,  1759.  He  commanded  the  grenadiers  at  the 
landing  of  the  army,  on  which  occasion  he  received  four  shots 
through  his  clothes  without  being  hurt ;  and  in  the  battle  which 
ensued  he  distinguished  himself  with  great  gallantry.1  At  this 
time,  Colonel  Murray  was  married,  and  his  wife,  a  daughter  of 
Sir  James  Stewart  of  Goodtrees,  Bart.,  accompanied  him  in  his 
Canadian  campaign.  He  had  two  sons,  Alexander  and  James 
Wolfe,  and  a  daughter.  The  second  son,  born  in  January  1759, 
was  named  after  General  Wolfe,  who  acted  as  his  godfather,  and 
expressed  a  wish  that  the  name  of  Wolfe  might  remain  in  the 
family.  Colonel  Murray  died  at  the  reduction  of  the  island 
of  Martinique,  1762,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  eldest  son, 

James  Wolfe  Murray,  who  was  educated  for  the  Scottish  bar, 
at  which  he  passed  as  advocate  in  1782,  became  afterwards 
sheriff  of  Peeblesshire.  Towards  the  end  of  the  century,  he 
bought  the  family  estate  for  £8000,  from  his  brother,  Alex- 
ander, who  died  without  issue  in  1822.*  It  is  mentioned,  that  in 
making  this  purchase,  Mr  Murray  was  assisted  by  his  uncle,  an 
aged  bachelor,  Colonel  James  Murray,  who  will  be  remembered 
by  old  people  about  Peebles,  for  he  lived  for  a  number  of  years 
in  Quebec  Hall  at  the  East  Port,  and  died  there  in  1807.  Of 
James  Wolfe  Murray,  and  his  polite  and  agreeable  manner,  many 
still  alive  will  vividly  retain  a  recollection  ;  perhaps  many  more 
will  remember  his  beautiful  and  remarkably  clever  wife.  This 

1  West  wished  Colonel  Murray  to  figure  in  his  picture  representing  the  death  of 
Wolfe  ;  '  but  the  honest  Scot  refused,  saying,  "  No,  no  !  I  was  not  by ;  I  was  leading 
the  left."  '—Wright's  Life  of  Wolfe. 

8  Cringletie  Papers. 


lady,  Isabella  Strange,  was  a  granddaughter  of  Sir  Robert 
Strange,  celebrated  as  an  engraver  toward  the  end  of  last 
century.  Strange's  history  is  associated  with  some  stirring 
events.  He  was  born  in  Shetland  in  1721  (his  father  having 
been  connected  with  the  Stranges  or  Strongs  of  Balcaskie,  in 
Fife),  and  was,  from  his  taste  for  art,  sent  to  be  apprenticed  as 
an  engraver  in  Edinburgh.  There  he  formed  an  attachment  to 
the  charming  Isabella  Lumsden,  sister  of  Andrew  Lumsden, 
writer,  who,  from  his  Jacobite  proclivities,  became  private  secre- 
tary to  Prince  Charles  Edward  on  his  appearance  in  1745. 
Miss  Lumsden,  a  still  more  enthusiastic  adherent  of  the  Stuarts 
than  her  brother,  would  only  promise  to  marry  Robert  Strange, 
on  his  engaging  heartily  in  the  rebellion,  which  he  forthwith  did 
— the  duty  more  especially  assigned  to  him  being  that  of 
engraving  bank-notes  for  the  use  of  the  rebel  army.  On  the 
dispersal  of  the  insurgents  at  Culloden,  Strange,  like  others,  fled 
for  his  life.  It  is  related  by  his  biographer,  that  on  one  occasion, 
being  '  hotly  pressed,  he  dashed  into  a  room  where  the  lady, 
whose  zeal  had  enlisted  him  in  the  fatal  cause,  sat  singing  at  her 
needle-work,  and  failing  other  means  of  concealment,  was 
indebted  for  safety  to  her  prompt  intervention.  As  she  quickly 
raised  her  hooped  gown,  the  affianced  lover  disappeared  under 
her  ample  contour,  where,  thanks  to  her  cool  demeanour  and 
unfaltering  notes,  he  lay  undetected  while  the  rude  and  baffled 
soldiery  vainly  ransacked  the  house.' 

Escaping  to  France,  Strange  was  compensated  for  his  misad- 
ventures, by  marrying  Miss, Lumsden  in  1747.  For  many 
years  he  carried  on  business  as  an  engraver  in  Paris,  where  his 
finest  works  were  produced.  He  and  his  family  at  length  came 
to  England,  where  there  was  no  longer  any  danger  on  account 
of  the  affair  of  1745.  Coming  into  favour  as  an  artist  with 
George  III.,  he  received  the  honour  of  knighthood  in  1787.  He 
died,  1792.  Sir  Robert  Strange  had  a  large  family.  His  eldest 
son  was  James  Strange,  whose  first  wife  was  Margaret  Durham 
of  Largo,  by  whom  he  had  a  daughter,  Isabella.  This  child, 
sent  to  live  for  some  time  with  her  grandfather,  at  his  house  in 


Great  Queen  Street,  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  is  described  as  having 
inherited  the  sparkling  wit,  vivacity,  and  worth  of  her  grand- 
mother, Lady  Strange,  to  whom  she  was  much  attached.  Such 
was  Isabella  Strange,  who,  in  1807,  became  the  beautiful  wife  of 
James  Wolfe  Murray  of  Cringletie.  Held  in  esteem,  Mr  Murray 
was  raised  to  the  bench  of  the  Court  of  Session,  in  1816, 
when  he  adopted  the  judicial  title  of  Lord  Cringletie.  His 
lordship  died  in  1836,  leaving  a  family  of  four  sons  and  eight 
daughters — all  noted,  in  a  singular  degree,  for  their  unaffected 
manners  and  sprightliness  of  disposition.1  Mrs  Murray,  his 
widow,  died  at  Paris  in  1847.  Lord  Cringletie  was  succeeded  by 
his  eldest  son,  James  Wolfe  Murray,  the  present  proprietor. 

We  now  return  to  Archibald  Murray,  advocate,  brother  of 
Alexander,  the  laird,  second  in  descent  from  Blackbarony.  He 
acquired  the  estate  of  Nisbet,  two  miles  west  from  Edinburgh, 
which  he  called  Murrayfield,  and  this  designation  it  still  retains. 
By  his  wife,  a  daughter  of  Lord  William  Hay,  younger  son  of 
John,  Marquis  of  Tweeddale,  he  had  a  son  Alexander,,  who,  also, 
was  reared  to  the  profession  of  the  law,  and  succeeded  his  father 
as  sheriff-depute  of  Peeblesshire  in  1761.  Rising  at  the  bar,  he 
was  appointed  a  judge  in  the  Court  of  Session  in  1782,  when 
he  adopted  the  title  of  Lord  Henderland,  from  the  estate 
of  the  same  name  in  Megget,  which  had  already  become  a 
possession  of  the  family.  The  wife  of  Lord  Henderland  was  a 
daughter  of  Sir  Alexander  Lindsay  of  Evelick,  baronet,  and 
niece  of  the  first  Earl  of  Mansfield.  By  this  lady  he  had  two 
sons — William,  who  inherited  his  property  of  Henderland,  and 
John  Archibald.  This  second  son,  who  lived  to  inherit  his 
brother's  patrimony,  will  long  be  remembered  for  his  genial 
qualities,  and  the  part  he  played  in  politics  in  Edinburgh  in  the 
early  part  of  the  present  century. 

Bred  to  the  law,  like  his  father  and  grandfather,  John  Archi- 
bald Murray  was  appointed  Lord  Advocate  in  1834,  and  after 
being  some  time  member  of  parliament  for  the  Leith  district  of 

1  His  eldest  daughter  was  married  to  James  Dennistoun  of  Dennistoun,  author  of 
Memoirs  of  Sir  Robert  Strange,  2  vols.  1855. 


burghs,  was  raised  to  the  bench  in  1 839,  when  he  took  the  title  of 
Lord  Murray.  He  was  at  the  same  time  knighted.  From  this 
time  till  his  death,  in  1859,  Lord  Murray  was  one  of  the  nota- 
bilities of  Edinburgh.  William  Murray,  who  predeceased  his